THE ancient Holy Cross, Woodchurch, in the diocese of
Chester, is surrounded by a large estate of mainly
social housing. There is still a tradition of family loyalty to the
church, which has a large demand for the occasional offices, and
the Rector, Canon Anne Davis, and her PCC wanted to find ways to
build on the community links.
The parish administrator came up with the idea of a Tree of
Light, on which people could sponsor a light in memory of someone
they had loved. As the church stands at the highest point in the
parish, and has several trees in the churchyard, they chose the
highest one, which would be visible from as many places in the
parish as possible. A great deal of hard work followed.
They expected only a modest response, hoping that, if it became
an annual event, it would build up through the years; but when it
came to Advent Sunday, and a simple service with the switching on
of the lights, Canon Davis found that they had struck a chord with
the community. Those responsible were amazed and delighted when
about 350 people crowded into the candlelit church, with
standing-room only at the back.