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Last updated 15th November 2019

#FollowTheStar Christmas campaign

#FollowTheStar is The Church of England’s 2019 digital Christmas campaign.

#FollowTheStar is about encouraging people into a local church service or event over the Christmas period to share in the joy of Jesus’ birth. 

After several years of different themes #FollowTheStar is now the 'permanent theme' for our annual digital campaign.

For #FollowTheStar there is always great collaboration across Church House London; Lambeth Palace; Bishopthorpe Palace and diocesan communicators across England, (including Ronnie Semley, our own Diocesan Communications Manager).

  • Listen to Adrian Harris and Amaris Cole from the national CofE Digital Team talking about how you can get involved with #FollowTheStar in a recently posted Church Times podcast (listen from 22m).

By supporting and participating in the #FollowTheStar campaign you and your church can also join in, alongside thousands of churches and hundreds of thousands of other people in congregations across the country.

Collectively we will encourage people to hear the Good News at a church service or event over the Christmas period. Even if your church is small, you can be part of something massive and exciting - so don't miss out!

In our diocese we have gathered together links to several ways in which your church can get prepared to get involved right now; with more to come as and when they become available:

  • Main resources: This page provides links to the resources available for Church of England churches to use - there are more resources planned and these will be added as they go online. More information here in the form of a practical tick list indicating how churches can prepare for #FollowTheStar. 
  • Booklets/leaflets: Order the #FollowTheStar: 12 Days of Christmas booklets and leaflets here on the Church House Publishing website
    • The Follow the Star 2019 booklet offers a brand new reflection for each of the twelve days of Christmas with a short Bible passage, a simple prayer and a challenge to reflect or act differently.
    • The Follow the Star 2019 leaflet is designed for churches who wish to promote the campaign to large groups of people. It contains a short challenge for each day plus QR codes linking to the full reflections on the Follow the Star app .... 
  • Get the app!: Engage with #FollowTheStar via an the Android or iOS app available here to download.
  • Daily reflections: Sign up to receive the daily reflections by e-mail and through the app (link above).
  • Order resources: Further resources are available here on the Christian Publishing and Outreach (CPO) website; where you can order everything from customisable Christmas cards, postcards, leaflets and flyers; to digital resources; pop up banners, candles and bookmarks - plus much more. 
  • A Church Near You: It's vital to update your church page on A Church Near You! The site receives more than 10 million page views each year and 50% more services and events were listed last year than the year before on the website. Make sure you tag your services with ‘FollowTheStar’ as well as ‘Christmas’, ‘mince pies’ ‘mulled wine’, ‘Advent’ and ‘Christmas carols’ as appropriate.
  • 'Star churches': Be a ‘star church’ by displaying stars prominently. The bigger and more visible the better! If possible, illuminate at night, share on social media AND also be part of the ‘night of the stars’ (details soon). More ideas to make stars in this blog
  • Digital push: Help to share Christmas videos and social media posts/stories through diocesan and local church social media accounts and videos to encourage people into local churches. There is also an interactive family Advent and Christmas calendar. Remember, when tweeting or psoting anything from your church social media account(s) to do with the campaign use the hashtag #FollowTheStar and (when on Twitter) the 'handles' @cofelancs and @churchofengland for retweets. Who knows - your picture may go viral!

 

The #FollowTheStar campaign is part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme aimed at helping us become a growing Church for all people and for all places.

In turn, our Diocese is focussed on Vision 2026 Healthy Churches Transforming Communities, to play its part in the wider programme.

 

Ronnie Semley, November 2019