Follow the Star into church this Christmas
A number of churches in Devon are planning to display giant stars throughout Advent and Christmas as a way of inviting people to come along to a Christmas church service.
It’s part of a national Church of England campaign called Follow the Star which launched at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official residence, Lambeth Palace, on 25 November with a spectacular light show.
Exeter Cathedral has a large four-point star on its West front as part of its Christmas market, while nearby Unlimited Church has made a large illuminated star and is planning to display it on its tower ahead of its 8 December carol service at Zinc nightclub.
Rural churches are also taking part, the Ashburton and Moorland churches on Dartmoor are planning a star trail for people to follow around its churches.
Heidi Lewis, the Family and Mission Development worker, said: “Volunteers are making huge stars, each one unique, which will hang in one of each of our 8 churches.
“A ‘Star Trail’ treasure hunt sheet will be available along with information about our Christmas services, Follow the Star and an invitation for people to join us over the Christmas season and beyond.
“As a parent myself it seemed an excellent triple-whammy of entertainment for children, a chance to explore Dartmoor and a fun way to engage with the local community and visitors to Devon.”
They will feature people from around Devon sharing their ‘follow the star’ moments when they decided to become a Christian.
“We all know the basics of the Christmas story, but just ask God to show Himself to you this Christmas. He will.”
Tanya Hockley-Still is starring in one of the films. She’s the Vicar at St Michael’s Church in Exeter and said: “My Follow the Star moment was when I was 15 I was walking down the hill to school in Plymouth, and I realised that everything the Bible said about Jesus was true.
“In the same moment I realised that if it was true, it was the most important thing in life, and I had to start to follow Jesus.”
She said if people were wondering whether or not to go to church at Christmas they should “just try it”.
“We all know the basics of the Christmas story, but just ask God to show Himself to you this Christmas. He will.
“The light-bulb moment I just described was after I had asked God to show me if he was real.”
Tanya said, although December is a busy time for church leaders, the music helps her to focus on the deeper meaning of Christmas: “I find the hymns and carols help. When some of my favourites come up, I just focus on the words.
“Some of them are so beautiful that they always bring home the true meaning of Christmas for me.”
For information about Christmas services near you go to A Church Near You