Comfort and Joy

Preparing for Advent & Christmas 2020: Comfort and Joy

Over the last few months the Church of England have worked with dioceses and people across the country on a new Advent and Christmas theme to reflect the current Covid context. We hope that Comfort and Joy will better enable us to reflect where the country is and will be by the end of this year. This builds on the success of #FollowTheStar, the theme of the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.

Comfort and Joy  holds together the hope that Christmas will bring joy and celebration after a uniquely difficult year with an acknowledgement that – for those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods, or who are potentially still not able to be together with loved ones – it may be the Church’s role, both nationally and locally, to provide consolation, rather than assume everyone will be ready to join in jubilation. We also have to anticipate there may be further spikes.

This Christmas the Church will need, in the words of St Paul in Romans 12.15, to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep’. We will aim to celebrate where we can together in one place – but also embrace a wider community that wants to join in the celebration but may not be physically able – or emotionally ready – to do so. We hope that Comfort and Joy will enable us to build a campaign that both enables us to reconnect with the rich and joyous traditions of the past and to offer God’s consoling love in the present. 

What are the key elements of the campaign?

As in previous years, the national Church will work with dioceses and churches to make a range of content available, branded with the Comfort and Joy theme:

Reflections

We are aiming to partner with a number of public figures to produce short reflections exploring the theme. Comfort and Joy: Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas will mirror the structure of a traditional carol service, exploring both biblical texts and the words of much-loved Christmas carols. The reflections are being edited by the Ven John Kiddle, Archdeacon of Wandsworth, author of the best-selling God With Us: Your Christmas Journey. They will be published in booklet form by Church House Publishing and also made available freely via app, smart speaker, audio and email. Working with the Archbishop of York's Youth Trust and the Evangelism  & Discipleship team, we will also produce a series of youth reflections in December.

AChurchNearYou.com

In Advent and Christmas, we will encourage churches to list the full range of church building and online services taking place and the Resource Hub will provide free adaptable content, download and share (such as customisable videos, images and approaches to online giving).

Online services and events

In collaboration with a range of Christian charities and organisations, we will produce nine online services throughout Advent and Christmas. This will include an online service for each Sunday of Advent, a Christingle with the Children's Society, nine lessons and carols and midnight services. Charities involved include Christian Aid, Church Army and Embrace. The online weekly services have been very well received on social media and continue to attract a diverse audience including regular churchgoers, people exploring faith and a younger age demographic.

We will also be encouraging churches to share either pre-recorded or live services, if possible, using AChurchNearYou.com and their own websites and social media accounts to promote. 

Singing and music

For centuries, music has been integral to both Advent and Christmas and this year it will be even more important. We are exploring ways in which socially distanced and online choirs and worship groups may be able to share music from across the traditions. This will include providing music for churches to use as part of online and physical services and events, building on the success of the 220,000+ downloads of music over the first three months, thanks to the partnership with St Martin-in-the-Fields and RSCM.

Printed materials

Bookmarks, Christmas cards, banners, flyers, posters, booklets and other printed items will be made available for churches to purchase, as in previous years.

How can your church prepare for Advent and Christmas?

Find out how you can register for free for the ACNY Resource Hub. This will be the home of the digital resources for lay and ordained leaders to use and share with church communities. A range of colour and black and white logos are available below. 

This page will be updated in the coming weeks with more information on printed and online content and resources. Information will be shared on Church of England Twitter and Facebook accounts so do keep an eye on these pages. 

Thank you for your support as we work collaboratively to build a campaign and suite of resources that provide Comfort and Joy for communities across England and in Europe. The prayer of the teams working on this is to bring the Christian message of hope and peace at a very challenging and difficult time.

Download Logos

Download Comfort and Joy campaign logos here.


Page last updated: 8th October 2020 4:30 PM
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