Diocese of Portsmouth

#FollowTheStar

#FollowTheStar is the Church of England’s 2018 Christmas campaign. Thousands of Christmas services and events will be taking place in churches all over the country in the run up to Christmas.

#FollowTheStar

Introduction

“For many of us, Christmas brings up so many emotions, memories and expectations. We have one nativity story, but it can seem like we all have very different Christmases.

“For you it might be a time of joy and togetherness. Or perhaps it’s all about planning and to-do lists. Many others can find it a sad and lonely time – nagged by the feeling that your Christmas is not like those ‘perfect’ ones we see in the media.

“But just like the unexpected assortment of people who were invited to meet the baby Jesus, #FollowTheStar doesn’t ask you to be perfect. It says: come just as you are to take the life-changing Christmas journey.”

Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu

How can local churches get involved?

#FollowTheStar: A journey through the 12 days of Christmas invites everyone to travel in the footsteps of the Wise Men to meet Jesus. Offering 14 daily reflections – beginning on Christmas Eve and finishing on the Epiphany (January 6th) – the #FollowTheStar booklet is ideal for sharing with those attending Advent and Christmas services and events.

Become a ‘star church’ this Christmas

To help us share the Christmas message through the #FollowTheStar campaign, we are encouraging as many churches as possible to be ‘star churches’ for a special ‘night of the stars’ on Friday 21st December. We may have a surprise or two up our sleeve that evening too, keep an eye on our social media channels!

How can you and your church get involved?

The first thing to do to be a ‘star church’ is to display a prominent star (ideally outdoor and illuminated at night, for maximum visibility) before December 21st. The aim of the star is to help us inspire people to visit A Church Near You and #FollowTheStar to find their local church Christmas service. By participating, you will help us share the Christmas message on a national scale – and locally. The star you will adorn your church with will serve as a visual invitation for the whole community.

Secondly, please ensure you have already added details of your Advent and Christmas services to A Church Near You. Don’t forget to also add the #FollowTheStar tag if you have put up a star outside your church.

When creating the star, remember that it doesn’t have to be an expensive art installation! Below, we have compiled a few of our favourite DIY ideas – and remember that these can all be increased in scale to maximise the effect. For help in creating these, there are tutorials online.

  1. The illuminated star: use wire, wood or other material, fashioned into the shape of a star and then wrap with Christmas lights. Ikea has some great star-shaped paper lampshades which could be used with a pendant bulb or on a light stand.
  2. The metallic star: made from cardboard and paint sprayed in gold for a metallic finish.
  3. The poster star: buy a hanging star from Church Print Hub. Available in three sizes and two finishes, the packs of stars can be used as a quick and easy option. It can be placed in a window or on a noticeboard.
  4. The glowing star: a blackout curtain with a star-shaped cut-out, with a strong light behind, will present a bright star when hung in a prominent window.
  5. The treetop star: made with lollipopsticks and glitter and place on top of the Christmas tree.
  6. The origami star: made with gold or yellow paper.

If you want it to tie in with the #FollowTheStar campaign, why not try and create an eight-pointed star like the logo.

Finally, don’t forget to share your photos on social media and tag any images with #FollowTheStar on Friday 21st December.

Resources

Accompanying resources for #FollowTheStar are available from Church House Publishing, including bulk packs of the hand-out booklet (which includes a welcome from Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu), posters, pull-up banners, bookmarks and cards.

Click here to visit the official #FollowTheStar Christmas campaign page on the CofE website for more details and to order resources.

You can also sign up to receive daily devotionals via email, which include a picture, a short Bible passage, a simple prayer and an action to reflect on – sign up is via an online form here.