Follow the Star: Join The Song
Last December, thousands of churches extended ‘The Great Invitation’ from the Church of England to Follow the Star to their local church.
This year’s theme – Follow the Star: Join the Song – highlights how singing can help draw us closer to God and each other through the journey from Advent to Epiphany.
"The shepherds were astonished to find the night sky filled with angels singing God’s praise. And before long they were singing, too ... Centuries later, singing is still central to how many of us celebrate Christmas.
"We invite you this Christmas to follow the star, journey to the manger, join the song and come into the presence of Jesus Christ."
Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell
The Church of England has been working with dioceses and parishes to develop a range of resources to help churches, choirs and singing groups, communities and schools to 'join the song' this Advent and Christmas:
- You can pre-order the Reflections Booklet, Prayer Bookmark, Family Prayer Card and Advent Calendar from Church House Publishing.
- Download the 'Join the Song' campaign logo pack in a number of formats for print and digital.
- Download the brand and design guidelines including colour palettes and approved fonts.
- Access music, social media graphics, PowerPoint assets, posters and other free tools and resources from A Church Near You (registration required).
- Explore the digital promo planner, blogs and bitesize videos from Digital Labs to support churches in using the digital resources available.
- Sign up to receive the 'Join the Song' collective worship resources for use in schools, in church settings and at home.
- (Coming soon) Family activities, pop-up nativity plan and online Advent reflections for all ages via the Follow The Star app.
- The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani has recorded a Christmas message which can be watched below. A transcript can be found here, please feel free to make use of the message in parish magazines and similar publications where it is helpful to do so.
- A New Years message from The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Chelmsford. A transcript can be found here. Please feel free to make use of this message in parish magazines and similar publications where it is helpful to do so. A video will be avaliable shortly.
Resources for children, young people and families, collated by the Diocese of Chelmsford Mustard Seed Team
- Excellent pinterest board on Advent & Christmas by Mary Hawes.
- Re:Quest has Advent information & resources, click on the Resources tab in the menu and then type Christmas in the seach bar.
- Muddy Church has a range of 'Wondering and Wandering' resources to encourage us to get outside this season: Winter and Christmas Resources.
- The Salvation Army have created resources for toddler groups and family carol services including instant nativity scripts.
- The Impossible Promise from The Bible Society includes a video, instant nativity, Makaton signs, poems and booklets. Explore here.
- Many churches and other venues will be delighted to be opening up for Christingle Services again this December. All the resources you might need to plan and run a service in a range of settings are now available. Christingle Resources can be found here.
Chelmsford Cathedral Services
Advent Procession - Sunday 3rd December at 6pm
Start the Christmas season by candlelight with readings and music sung by the Cathedral Choir.
Carols for Everyone - Friday 8th and 15th December at midday
Our popular carol service is back! Join us for a 45-minute lunchtime service with all your favourite Christmas readings and carols.
Christingle Service - Sunday 17th December at 3:30pm
Perfect for young children, find out why the Christingle, a little lighted candle in an orange, helps us tell the Christmas story.
Carols by Candlelight - Sunday 17th December at 6pm and 8pm
Sing your favourite Christmas carols by the light of our Christmas tree in the beautiful surroundings of the Cathedral.
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd December at 6:30pm
A traditional carol service led by the Cathedral Choir with readings and congregational singing.
Carols for Kids - Friday 22nd December at 12:30pm and 2pm
A family-friendly sing-a-long of all your favourite Christmas carols. Wear your Christmas jumpers and be ready for some festive fun!
Crib Service - Sunday 24th December at 3:30pm
In this interactive service children are invited to dress up as characters from the nativity and help retell the Christmas story.
Midnight Mass - Sunday 24th December at 11:30am
A traditional Choral Eucharist with the Cathedral Choir where we welcome Christmas Day. Incense will be used during this service.
BCP Said Eucharist - Monday 25th December at 8am
Book of Common Prayer Eucharist on Christmas Day.
All-Age Eucharist on Christmas Day - Monday 25th December at 9:30am
All-Age Eucharist for Christmas morning.
Christmas Day Choral Eucharist - Monday 25th December at 11:15am
Christmas Day Eucharist led by the Bishop of Chelmsford. Incense will be used during this service.