A city-centre church is lighting up its local area with innovative Advent window displays.
‘Share the Light’ Advent Trail is the brainchild of Irene Hanson, the wife of the Rev. Dave Hanson, Vicar of St Stephen’s Church on Bird Street in Broadgate, Preston.
The Advent Trail comprises 24 decorated windows in the homes of parishioners that can be enjoyed by passers-by in the run up to Christmas Day.
Irene said: “As a church, we could not do our usual events with our local school and community this Christmas. I had read and seen pictures of churches and communities around the world doing Advent windows and suggested (at a church Zoom meeting) we do an Advent window trail which would fit well with the theme ‘Share the Light’.”
Irene wrote to all church members who live in the parish, as well as the local church school, encouraging them to sign up. Then she assigned each house taking part a number and a date when their window would light up.
Households were free to design their own display, with supplies of sugar paper and tissue paper in various colours being delivered to each one. Each house was also given a notice to place in the window explaining the initiative with a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone; linking to a map of the window trail.
Each night the church posts a picture of the latest window on the church website and Facebook page and a downloadable plan shows where to visit each evening until December 24 to view the newly-decorated window.
The window displays have also been planned so that people can walk the trail without doubling back too much and the Trail ends at the church on Christmas Eve.
Irene continued: “A number of people have said their neighbours ask about their window display and want to know more. We have also had a member of the public asking if their decorated window could be part of the trail. When Dave visited, they wanted to know more about the different services happening over Christmas.”
Rev. Dave Hanson added: “Covid-19 has forced us to think how we can celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World, outside of our church building. The Advent Window Trail has shown just how creative our church family are.”
Ronnie Semley, December 2020