Discover the joy of Christmas in new Church of England video
With dragons, talking carrots, and even a surprise comeback for ET all vying for centre stage in the annual festive advertising bonanza, the Church of England is putting real-life stars at the heart of its campaign to invite more people to church this Christmas.
The video tells the story of Christmas preparations at St Peter’s Church, Stockton-on-Tees – a church with a special ministry. The advert is backed by singers from a London Gospel Choir, with this year’s Christmas Single, a new arrangement of the favourite carol We Three Kings.
Featuring in the advert are refugees and asylum seekers who attend St Peter’s, together with Stockton residents of all ages. Viewers of the 2019 advert will see members of the congregation of all ages speaking lines of We Three Kings in turn. One line is spoken in the Farsi (Persian) language by Michael, an asylum seeker who fled his native Iran. Other members of the church’s English Language Class, which serves people from more than 30 countries, also feature, together with pensioners Edwin and Ruth who hang a large star from the church tower, and a trio of ‘wise men’ (Lily, Kari, and Jasper) in the finest nativity tradition.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “Christmas is rightly a time for celebration, bringing joy and comfort to the lives of others. The reason we do this is that we are each offered the most extraordinary gift at Christmas in the birth of Jesus.
“I hope that everyone who sees this campaign, whether or not they know anything about Jesus, will feel moved – like the Magi – to follow the star to church and to ask the questions: ‘why am I here, what am I for, and why I am loved?’
“It doesn’t matter who you are – whether you’re a regular church-goer, or you never go to church, there is something in #FollowTheStar and in Jesus for everyone.”
Last year, the Church of England’s #FollowTheStar campaign reached more than eight million people. At its heart is a simple message: come to church to discover the joy of Christmas, with a range of free resources and reflections to help people along the way.
The 2019 campaign is set to reach more people than ever, with churches and cathedrals up and down the country taking part by displaying stars, handing out special reflection booklets, and inviting new people to services and events via AChurchNearYou.com – the CofE’s ‘church-finder’ which has attracted nearly 40 million page views in the past 12 months.