Christingle celebrates 50 years
Record numbers are set to take part in Christingle services up and down the country this year, raising money for The Children’s Society and celebrating the anniversary of the first Christingle held in Britain 50 years ago.
The festive fundraising tradition is set to be bigger than ever this year, with thousands of services in churches and 32 in cathedrals across Britain hosting celebrations according to figures from The Children’s Society.
The Children’s Society first brought Christingle to the UK on 7 December 1968 at Lincoln Cathedral. By 1986 the word ‘Christingle’ had made it into the Oxford English Dictionary and by 2003 1 million people were attending Christingle services.
The event is now celebrated in hundreds of churches, schools and communities up and down the country, each one raising funds for vulnerable children. The occasion is named after the Christingles, the oranges that are lit during the service and decorated with a candle, red ribbon, dried fruits and sweets on cocktail sticks, which represent different parts of the Christian story.
Lincoln is one of several locations hosting services this year – almost every Church of England cathedral in the country will hold a Christingle between now and February 2019. Further landmark venues will include:
· Exeter Cathedral – 1 December
· Lincoln Cathedral – 7 December
· Norwich Cathedral – 8 December
· Ely Cathedral – 8 December
· St Albans Abbey – 9 December
· Southwell Minster – 9 December
· Rochester Cathedral – 15 December
· Bradford Cathedral – 15 December
· Birmingham Cathedral – 19 December
· Peterborough Cathedral – 22 December
· Hereford Cathedral – 24 December
· Canterbury Cathedral – 28 December
· Guildford Cathedral – 27 January
The Children’s Society Chief Executive, Matthew Reed says: “The 7th December is a special moment in our history, marking the celebrated day in 1968 when we first brought Christingle here. The iconic fundraising tradition is a lifeline for the charity and we’re enormously grateful to all our supporters for helping us to work with more than a million children over the last 50 years.
"Sadly, there are a million more young people living with several serious problems in their lives today and we hope that our 50th anniversary services will go some way to supporting them.”
To help mark the anniversary, the charity has commissioned an original song with the Royal Academy of Music. The song has been composed exclusively by young composer Louise Drewett and written by award-winning poet Clare Shaw. Following a special advent episode of BBC One’s Songs of Praise on Sunday 2 December, the charity is asking schools, choirs and congregations to help make it a special year by including Light a Candle in their own Christingle service.
To download Light a Candle visit www.christingle.org/song