Hundreds of people packed into St John’s Church and grounds in Milborne Port on Friday evening (24 November) to mark the switching on of the Christmas lights. This was the first time the celebration in the Village was held at St John’s Church and those who attended for the singing, food.
Revd Rona Stuart-Bourne said “I am overjoyed that we are able to welcome the whole community and to make the church the centre of the community and put the community at the centre of the church.”
Previously celebrations to mark the lights switch on took place alongside the A30, but Rona proposed St John’s as an alternative venue, and The Spirit of Milborne Port, organisers of the event were delighted by the suggestion and planning began in earnest.
All manner of Christmas stalls and activities were planned; inside St John’s local school children sang carols, Open the Book put on a performance and the local librarian read stories. Outside there were lots of stalls with crafts and gifts, and many offering food and drinks - hot chocolate, mulled wine for the adults.
The choir vestry was transformed into Father Christmas’ grotto for the children. While they waited this visit there were colouring and crafts offering children an opportunity to learn about the Christmas story. Revd Rona emphasises, “Although we had to think twice about having Father Christmas in the Church, this part of the Christmas tradition is still about love, generosity and giving, so it offers an opportunity for the Church to make the connection with the Christmas story and God’s breathtaking love for and generosity towards us by sending his Son.”
The church community created angels (knitted and crocheted), each with a Christmas blessing. The angels were given out as a free gift to everyone attending the event. As a gesture of appreciation for hosting the event, Spirit of Milborne Port have funded repairs for the floodlights at the church.
Rona added, “St John’s Community is overjoyed to welcome this Community event to the Church and Churchyard this year, and we hope it will be an annual event. It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy celebrating Christmas with our community and to be able to share the true Christmas message with everyone.”