Diocese of Portsmouth

    Community contributes to digital carol service

    22 Dec. 2020

    THOSE who live, work and study in the heart of Portsmouth have contributed to an amazing community carol service.

    St Luke’s Church, Southsea, decided to take their Christmas carol service for 2020 out of their church building, asking residents, community leaders and schoolchildren to contribute songs and readings that would tell the Nativity story. Local people were filmed in urban locations across the parish, and the Bible readings edited between beautiful renditions of traditional carols.

    It’s just the latest innovation from the parish, which has made digital worship the norm during the pandemic of 2020. The resulting video was given its premiere on Youtube and Facebook at 6:30pm on December 21. You can see it for yourself here:

    The filming was done by professional photographer Pete Langdown, who is part of the congregation there. He filmed pupils in nearby Charter Academy and Cottage Grove Primary School, Bible readers on local streets, singers in the adventure playground, and Street Pastors in the city centre. Some singers recorded their contribution looking over the city of Portsmouth from Portsdown Hill.

    And those who took part were full of praise for everyone’s efforts. Polly Honeychurch, headteacher at Cottage Grove Primary School said: “Absolutely brilliant. What a lot of talent we have in our community. Well done to all the team. Fantastic effort.”

    One of the singers, Lindsay, said: “It was amazing to be a part of this – so many talented people have come together to make it... and of course, I got to sing my favourite Christmas carol!”

    Local councillor Cal Corkery said: “It has been a difficult year for many, the toughest many of us will have known. Faced with such adversity our community has shone through, coming together to support one another through such challenging times. St Luke’s Church has been a prime example of that community spirit, compassion and solidarity that makes our area such a great place to live. I was proud to play a small part in the Christmas carols production and hope it helps bring about some much needed festive cheer and optimism for what lays ahead.”

    Singer Vickie B said: “I don’t like being filmed so this filled me with dread, but I love singing and I was going to be singing with three other people, so I said I would do it. While we recorded the singing (which I sang on my own), I knew it was not my best but I was happy that I did it and all I had to worry about was the filming (so I thought!).

    “The day before we were due to film, we had a call back to record the song, this time I was with everyone else which I was glad about, it went off really well and I enjoyed it very much. So I have come to this conclusion, Christmas on your own is all well and good, but being with others is so much nicer as long as. you can be together in a safe and secure way.”

    Participant Lorraine H said: “This project was a joy to be part of. It is so important to connect with our community in a time and place where we have to be so separate, by not preaching at but by sharing with. I hope that people in the community feel a part of the place where they live.”

    Congregation member John Twine said: “Christmas in 2020 takes on a different dimension I think – but only as much as in the hope that it has created in the minds of people who perhaps wouldn’t usually put much emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas. After a year of juggling with ways to stay safe, deal with sadness, and face almost daily new challenges, the basic message of love from the birth of Jesus remains the same as it always has – love come down in the form of a baby, born in the humblest of circumstances, but sent to give us hope, joy, peace and love. Immanuel – our God is with us.”

    And videographer Pete Langdown said: “I was bowled over by the talent and the courage in our church family, the schools, and the entire community. Their efforts in our current circumstances moved me to give them my very best.”

    To check out what services St Luke’s is running over Christmas, see stlukessouthsea.church. To follow them on Youtube, click here.

    St Luke's, Southsea

    www.stlukessouthsea.church, PO5 4LH

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