Churches encouraged to move carol services to make way for World Cup Final

Nov 23, 2022 by

by Donna Birrell, Premier:

Vicars are being advised to move carol services marking the fourth Sunday in Advent to a new time to accommodate the World Cup Final.

It comes after guidance from the Church of England advised clergy to avoid Sunday 18th December and hold the services on Saturday 17th instead.

The advice, called ‘Making the most of the World Cup Final’ says holding a carol service on the Sunday ‘could still be possible if you choose the time carefully, but what if there are penalties?’

Graham Nicholls who is Director of the evangelical network of churches, Affinity, told Premier Christian News: “I think it’s very strange timing, because I would imagine most churches have already organised their carol services and already made these decisions. So I was a little bit surprised as to why they’d suddenly caught up with the fact that the World Cup was happening and that it might have an effect.

“So I was I was slightly bemused and it doesn’t make sense at this point in the calendar.

“But it’s pragmatic and I think if you’re doing it on this quite rare occasion, where it all coincides around Christmas time, and you are just trying to be sensible, particularly about getting in touch with people who are completely outside the church, I think I think it does make sense.”

The guidance says churches can use the World Cup as a ‘missional tool’ with ideas including screening the Final during the service or hosting a Christmas Sports Day instead of regular collective worship. It also suggests churches could host sports quizzes and carols at an alternative time to the Final.

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