The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield explains: “The whole Cathedral team is determined to try and host a range of services that capture the special quality of this most popular of seasons. We have to meet people’s need to touch the beautiful mystery of Christmas. Once a year our society turns to the manger. The Church must help take hold of that opportunity and cherish it and enrich it.”
Lichfield Cathedral's Advent & Christmas programme sees a host of services and events from 29 November until 25 December, all aimed at allowing people to celebrate this time of year whilst remaining safe. Advent Sunday (29 November) marks the start of the season, with a virtual Carol Service where people are encouraged to light a candle, turn off the lights and take part in the service as the Cathedral is transformed from darkness to light accompanied by music from Lichfield Cathedral Choir.
There is a selection of outdoor services including the ever-popular Lantern Service on 13 December and two special Carols around the tree services on 19 December. 2020 sees a first for Lichfield Cathedral as they host their extremely popular Christmas Eve Crib Service outside. Families are invited to come along dressed as a nativity character as the story of Christmas is re-enacted. All outdoor services will be managed safely, with social distancing in place and people attending will need to pre-book free tickets in order to control numbers.
“Our Advent services welcome 1000s of people, often seeing the Cathedral packed out night after night. In these current circumstances we cannot safely host such numbers, so after much deliberation we have introduced a ticketing system for specific services inside and outside the Cathedral to help maintain safe numbers,” Dorber continues. “We would ask if you know someone who doesn’t ‘do technology’ but would like to attend one of our services, please help them with booking their space online.”
The Cathedral is also hosting three special themed ‘open evenings’ like the Cathedral at Night event held earlier in the year. The evenings will see the Cathedral open from 19:00-21:00 with people able to drop-in and reflect on the themes presented. Each evening will end with Compline at 20:45. Although these ‘open evenings’ will not be ticketed, there will be volunteers on hand to control the flow of visitors to ensure the events are safe for everyone. 13 December will see an open evening ‘Light in the Darkness’ themed for those who find Christmas a particularly difficult time of year. 14 December will see an Advent-themed ‘Meditation at the Manger’ evening and on 15 December ‘Out of Bethlehem – A Cry’ will focus on the struggles of people living in Bethlehem today.
Lichfield Cathedral continues its programme for Advent & Christmas with service help inside the Cathedral, Most of which will also be available to view on You Tube for those who cannot attend. There will be two occasions to attend the traditional Service of Lessons & Carols on 23 & 24 December at 19:00 and an opportunity to display the generosity of the season with the Share the Gift service, where food donations for the Lichfield Foodbank and toy donations from the Pathways Project will be gratefully received. The First Eucharist of Christmas will be held at 22:00 on 24 December and Christmas Day Eucharist will be at 10:30. Each of these services will be ticketed (free) to aid with Test and Trace and maintain safe numbers within the Cathedral.
Alongside the special services, the Cathedral will maintain its daily pattern of worship both in the Cathedral and online during Advent & Christmas.
“Advent anchors us in hope. As a Cathedral at the heart of our community, we want to help deliver a sense of that hope to all who come to us (online or in person) during this season,” concludes the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield.
For more information on the Advent events follow this link.
To view the daily virtual advent calendar click here.
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