Could your local stadium host community carols for Christmas 2013?
HOPE is looking to see community carol services hosted in football stadiums across the country at Christmas in 2013. Could your local club be a venue?
More men sing in football stadiums than in churches each week. So this Christmas churches are heading to their local stadiums and inviting footie fans to celebrate the festive season leading the whole community singing carols. HOPE is helping local churches to work with sports chaplains and sports clubs to stage carol services for fans and community groups.
Carol services can be sedate affairs with candlelight, but not these events – the aim is to invite sports fans to join in a community-wide event that makes the most of the stadium atmosphere.
Last year Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Aldershot Town and Shrewsbury Town football clubs held carol services at their stadiums with the help of sports chaplains, local school choirs, Salvation Army bands and organisations such as Faith in Football.
This year more sports clubs will be bringing their communities together. Organisers have booked guests such as Linvoy Primus, other Christian footballers, or evangelists like Steve Legg to take part.
HOPE’s vision is to see every stadium in the country hosting a carol service for fans over Christmas 2013, and to see partnerships with churches, sports chaplains and sports clubs growing stronger.
Last year Andy Rimmer, the Chaplain for AFC Bournemouth (aka the Cherries), organised the club’s first community carol service at the Dean Court stadium in partnership with HOPE.
“It was great to hold the celebration in the main stand last year. This carol service is a chance to share the gospel in a completely unique environment and we want this event to have a real community feel as well as being attended by supporters of the club. My vision for the future is to see the whole main stand, which holds 3,000 people, packed out. Maybe this year!”
WHAT TO DO
Contact your local football, rugby or sports club and sports chaplain and offer to help them to hold a community carol concert at their stadium. Christmas is an amazing opportunity for sports clubs to stage special events for their fans and for churches to build community spirit and share the gospel.
If your club doesn't have a chaplain or any church connection, a good place to start is SCORE (Serving Sport Through Chaplaincy), based in Manchester.