The annual Christingle Services at Christ Church have become a regular part of the calendar at Christ Church and all because of one amazing lady. Doreen Cruse, a longstanding member of Christ Church started doing door to door collections for The Children’s Society in 1960. Then in 1981, she was invited to tea with The Queen Mother at Clarence House along with others who made collections for The Children’s Society. At this reception, Doreen first heard about the revival of Christingle Services in England and she brought back the idea to Downend. Rev Tony Joyce, the vicar at the time agreed to holding a service, “just for one year”. No one knew if it would be a success. But Doreen, along with a group of young wives, gathered together a team to make 500 oranges into Christingles.
In 1981 there was a severe cold snap and there was snow on the ground, so they weren’t sure how many would manage to get along to the service in the snow. “The oranges were put into plastic bread trays and dragged up to Church with ropes,” recalls Maggie Nichols. “Thankfully lots of families turned up in hats, scarves and wellingtons having walked through the snow. Some even travelled to Church on sledges!”
This year, the weather was kinder, the oranges were ready and puppets Lucy & Bert were on hand to remind us what each part of the Christingle represents. Irene Chester and Rachel Culverhouse have taken over from Doreen in organising our Christingles and although its only our 37th year of Christingle services, nationally this year is the 50th birthday of the first Christingle services in England.
So we even had a super Christingle shaped cake. This year donations of £444.01 have been given to support the work of The Children’s Society who work with the most vulnerable children in the UK and it was a joy to celebrate Christingle for the first time back in the newly reordered Christ Church, gathering our local community together at the start of Advent.