Fifty years on: the Christingle candle burns ever brighter

Dave HallByDave Hall

Fifty years on: the Christingle candle burns ever brighter

Hundreds of churches, schools and more than 30 cathedrals are stocking up on oranges – to celebrate 50 years of Christingle.

The Children’s Society’s John Pensom, known as ‘Mr Christingle’, is credited with adapting the Moravian tradition and introducing it to the Church of England as a way of raising money for the society’s work with vulnerable children and young people.

‘We’d love people to come to our stand at CRE (FC32) to hear more about our plans for the 50th anniversary,’ says the Children’s Society’s Tracey Messenger. ‘We will have free resources available to make your Christingle celebrations this year the best ever! And if you’re quick, you may also receive one of our special bags of dolly mixtures!’

The first Christingle service took place at Lincoln Cathedral in December 1968. Only 300 people were expected but as many as 1500 turned up. Since then, Christingle has become a well-loved Christmas tradition, with more than 6,000 held in the UK last year. Many find it to be one of the most popular services of the year, attracting children and families who don’t normally attend church.

‘Christingle season begins at Advent and continues through until Candlemas,’ explains Tracey. ‘We’ve teamed up with tutors and ordinands at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, who have produced a suite of all-age seasonal resources, with prayers and all-age talks for Christingle services suitable for use on Advent Sunday, Christmas Eve, Epiphany and Candlemas.’

For children’s groups, there is a Messy Church Christingle session from Lucy Moore, and a Diddy Disciples resource for under 7s developed by Revd Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby. A new song, ‘Light a Candle’, has been composed exclusively for the anniversary by Louise Drewett, a young composer currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The words have been written by British poet Clare Shaw.

‘Whether you are a school choir, amateur singing group, professional, cathedral or church choir, or just love singing, ‘Light a Candle’ is the perfect way to raise your voice in celebration,’ says Tracey.

Download ‘Light a Candle’ here.

• The Children’s Society are on stand FC32 at CRE 2018

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Dave Hall

Dave Hall author