ON Christmas Eve, little Charlie George Harrison from Combes will be 53 days old, just short of eight weeks. Although he will never remember it, he will be taking a star role – as baby Jesus – at the Christingle service in Holy Trinity Church, Buxton Road, Whaley Bridge. For hundreds of children and families, Christingle, starting at 4pm, is the final wind-down to Christmas. Bedtime, hanging up of stockings and leaving Santa and his reindeer’s treats of mince pies or carrots are only a short time away.
Christingle is just one of a series of events leading up to Christmas in Whaley Bridge. Sunday 16 December offers an afternoon double. At 2.30pm, Whaley Bridge Band gives a Christmas concert in Holy Trinity church. Then, starting at 5pm, in the Uniting Church, there are popular carols and the lively drama of the Nativity story (with a bit of a twist promised!).
Other key dates in Whaley Bridge are:
Sunday 23 December – 4pm, candlelight service at Good News Church; 5pm, family carols at the Uniting Church; 6.30pm, Nine Lessons and Carols, St James’, Taxal.
Christmas Eve – first communion of Christmas, 11.30pm, Holy Trinity; carols followed by midnight mass, 11.40pm, Sacred Heart, Whaley Bridge; Christmas Eve service, 11.45pm, Fernilee Church.
Christmas Day – 8am and 10am, communion at St James; 10am, family service at Uniting Church; 10.30 am family service, Good News Church; 11am, Christmas Day mass, Sacred Heart
The Christingle tradition in Whaley Bridge is to have a family with a young baby – boy or girl – to represent the Holy Family. Charlie’s mum Rebecca will be Mary and dad Glenn, in tea towel headdress, will be Joseph.
Rebecca can remember playing Mary once before, 21 years ago, in the nativity play at Warmbrook primary school, Chapel en le Frith. Glenn just remembers being in the choir at his nativity play.
Rebecca’s family has long had a link to St James’ Church, Taxal, part of the Parish of Whaley Bridge. Her great grandparents, Harold and Ellen Ward, were churchwardens there. Rebecca and Glen were married in St James’ and both Rebecca and her first baby, Melody, now three, were baptised there. Rebecca’s christening was on a snowy 27 December, which delayed guests arriving at the church.
Rebecca, an accountant and Glenn, who runs his own landscape gardening business are looking forward to Christingle. Daughter Melody will probably be an angel, although she wants to be a princess. Charlie, who weighed in at 10 lbs on 2 November, will be happy with the lights, the music, the Christmas hubbub – and a handy bottle of milk.
Note: See here full details of Churches Together in Whaley Bridge Christmas services. The phone numbers for St James’, Taxal and Holy Trinity, should, of course have the area code 01663. On Sunday 23 December, there are 8am and 10.30 services at St James’.