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Church of England Advent PR makes sure it gets in with the very first nowell

05 September 2023

Church of England

The logo for this year’s Christmas campaign

The logo for this year’s Christmas campaign

AN AUTUMN heatwave may be spreading across the UK, but the Church of England is already preparing for the long winter nights of Advent and Christmas.

On 1 September, a press release on the C of E website announced its Christmas theme for 2023: “Follow the Star: Join the song”. The release explains: “After two challenging Christmases during the pandemic, we returned to the very popular ‘Follow the Star’ branding last year, in line with feedback from dioceses and parishes.”

Last December, the theme was “Follow the Star: The Great Invitation” (News, 1 December 2022).

As before, the theme this year will be used on social media to encourage people to attend services through Advent and Christmas, with a focus on singing — a pastime banned for much of the pandemic, putting paid to choirs and carol services.

New this year is a call to all choirs and worship groups to sing a new version of the traditional English carol “The First Nowell”. There are also daily Advent and Christmas reflections inspired by the words of familiar carols; and a printed “Follow the Star” Advent calendar for families, which includes stickers.

The call to “join the song” is linked in the material to the praises of the shepherds mentioned in St Luke’s Gospel 2.20 on their return from meeting the newborn Jesus.

Three webinars are being organised to help churches make the most of the new resources in services, schools, or at home, with both children and adults.

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