Unfortunately Christmas won’t be ‘as usual’ this year
While things are still uncertain in regards to what local restrictions will look like as we approach Christmas one thing is for certain … things aren’t going to be ‘as usual’ this year.
Its highly likely
we won’t be able to see and spend time with those we love and have missed through the year.
In addition it’s highly probable that
we won’t be able to join in with the normal Christmas community activities and celebrations including the very popular annual Christmas tree lights switch on at the Victoria Walshaw, pre-Christmas meals with friends, and school Christmas celebrations including parents and family.
Its also seems that
we won’t be able to have our annual community Carol Service in our parish church this year, and we are very disappointed that we won’t be able to have our Christingle Service on Christmas Eve which usually attracts around 300 people … many of them young families.
Christ Church Walshaw is hoping to help us all to remember what a fantastic community we live in and to join in together in some Advent and Christmas activities ... safely, starting at the beginning of Advent with our 'Star Festival'
What can we do to remember that we are part of a fantastic community?
Christ Church Walshaw has decided to launch our
Walshaw & Lowercroft Star Festival
something which our community can do together and bring a sense of joy to this special time, starting the first Sunday in Advent. Our hope is that the initiative will remind folk that we are part of a great community in Walshaw and Lowercroft, and that it would contribute to a sense of belonging for many who are not able to connect with lots of people at this time.
Beyond Walshaw & Lowercroft
We are really thrilled that St Stephens, Elton, Bolton Road Methodist Church and schools from the Elton area, are joining in with our Star Festival so that a large part of West Bury can be covered in stars.
We would encourage anyone who would like to join us in this festival, no matter where you live, to do so … and don’t forget to share your pictures on social media tagging them #JesusIsTheStarOfChristmas
Who can join in?
It’s anticipated that individuals, families, and local businesses and schools & nurseries will make and share stars in their windows, on their doors, in their gardens and on their fences. We also hope people will come and put stars on the railings of our church and in our grounds too.
How can I share my stars with my family and friends and with our community?
put stars up with your Christmas decorations … on your windows, on your doors, in your garden and on your railings or fence.
At our school / nursery:
it would be great if schools could encourage their children and young people to each make their own stars and put them around school, on the school gates / fence and bring some to put on our church railings too. Children who are not in school because they are self isolating can also join in doing this while they are at home.
Local businesses / at work:
local businesses are encouraged to make stars and put them on your gate / entrance, doors and windows as well as on your fence.
we would love it if you could bring a star to Christ Church Walshaw and put one on our railings
Share your stars with our community
One of the things about our Star Festival is that it might encourage us to remember that we are still part of a great community in Walshaw & Lowercroft. So …when your stars are in place, at home, at school or at your place of work, we would encourage people to post a picture of their stars on Face Book and Twitter with the tag #JesusIsTheStarOfChristmas.
What will the stars look like?
Stars can be:
All shapes, sizes and colours
They can be lit up, or plain, and
They can have messages in them including to remember loved ones lost; to express thankfulness; and to say thank you to key workers. We also hope stars will help us to remember the real star of the Christmas story – Jesus.
Remember someone you have loved and lost
From Sunday 29th November, in the grounds of Christ Church Walshaw, there will be a larger star in the ground near the entrance to the church which says “ In memory of …”. Please feel free to place your own star near this to remember someone close to you who has died. You can put their name, draw their picture, put a photo or just put a plain star in place.
A chance to celebrate and be thankful
If you are thankful for something which has happened in your life, if you feel blessed or would like to celebrate something there will be a larger star near the entrance to church which says “Thank you for …”. Doing this in effect is a prayer of thanks to God. Again you can specify what you are thankful for or you can just put a plain star in place.
How can I protect my star from the weather?
Some materials like tin foil and plastic are great for making stars because they are weather proof. However you can also make a star with paper or cardboard and then laminate it. Lots of people have laminating machines at home these days. However if you would like your star to be laminated before it goes on the church railings, or in the grounds of church, you can leave it at the vicarage and we can do it for you: 37 Gisburn Drive, Walshaw, Bury BL8 3DH (it might be worth ringing first to make sure we are in when you drop it off: 0161 797 5121)
Christmas … this is what it is all about
Christmas is usually a time to share with family, friends and community … people we love and care about. It is also a time when we remember the birth of Jesus, in Bethlehem, two thousand years ago. It is our hope and prayer that our Star Festival will not only help us to remember that we are part of a great community but also that Jesus is the real Star of Christmas.