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Lancashire: bishops back #joytotheworld campaign

Three Anglican Bishops in Lancashire have joined together to help promote a new national Church Christmas campaign ...

Three CofE Bishops in Lancashire have joined together to help promote a new national Church Christmas campaign and to encourage Lancashire parishes to get involved.

With the social media hashtag #joytotheworld, the A Christmas Near You campaign aims to encourage as many people as possible in Lancashire and beyond to attend Christmas services.

As the latest national attendance figures show, Christmas presents the Church with a great opportunity to engage with people who may not attend regular weekly services.

That’s why the national Church is preparing to launch a new multi-media campaign to make it as easy as possible for anyone to find a good Christmas service near to their home where they will receive a warm welcome. And The Church of England in Lancashire is fully behind the project.

Speaking today, Rt Rev Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster and Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, encouraged Anglican churches across Lancashire to get involved saying: “This will be a major Church of England campaign which will have a high profile and so we must take full advantage of the opportunities it presents to us here in Lancashire.

“It is free and very simple for EVERY church to benefit. Just ensure someone from your parish logs on to and inputs all the key details about your Christmas services.

“But it doesn’t end there. We then need to make every effort to welcome the new faces who join our church communities at this special time, and ensure they have an opportunity to hear precisely why Jesus was born more than 2000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem.”

Any church in any Anglican Diocese can visit to upload all the key details of Christmas services.

Although this form is part of the popular existing website A Church Near You (ACNY) you don’t need to have ACNY administrator access to add Christmas services, you just need your email address.
Then, from December 1, the national Christmas campaign will go live and the main website will be available for anyone to be able to find the nearest Christmas services to them (or to search for services in a particular location).

Based on the data input by churches, combined with the search parameters entered by the person searching for a service, will be able to filter for date; whether there will be carols; accessibility such as wheelchair access; sign language, parking and much more.

For smartphone users, the website will also be able to find where the person is and show which Christmas services are happening nearest to them.

Meanwhile the whole campaign will be underpinned on social media using the special hashtag #joytotheworld including on the national Church of England Twitter feed @c_of_e and the local Twitter account for the Diocese of Blackburn which is @cofelancs.

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