Beer & Carols 2019

Our family-friendly drop-in for Christmas

* Cask ale * Mulled wine * Free Christmas craft * Winter Wonderland model railway * Nativity photobooth *

BeerAndCarols211219beerIt’s around 4.30pm on the Saturday before Christmas and the church is full with people talking, engaging, reflecting and appreciating the hospitality that is being offered.

Beer & Carols was started in 2018 as a follow up to the September Beer Festival and aimed to make St Andrew’s the focus for a community event that would encourage people to recognise that, as a church, we are here for everyone. One year later, the event felt even bigger with not only many familiar faces from last year’s event but, also, many newcomers.

Visitors spread themselves comfortably around the church enjoying tasty snacks and drinking the beer from New River Brewery as well as, thanks to our neighbour Steve Millburn, from the newly established Gold BeerAndCarols211219CrowdBear Brewery (try their beer at The Black Horse!). There was, of course, also the mulled wine and many soft drinks.

Young children took their parents and carers to the South Transept for special activities, while children of all ages (from 0-80!) could enjoy the model train set in the North Transept and the Nativity Photobooth in the chapel. There was something for everyone.

At the centre of the occasion was the music provided by the ever-developing St Andrew’s band of players. Carols and Christmas songs were played with everyone able to join in with the words as they were projected on to the back screen. There was constant noise: singing, talking and merriment. However, this made the hush that descended as Alan spoke his words and offered his prayer for the occasion something that many will remember. Here we were, in God’s presence, sharing a special moment as Christmas approached.

A donation of £500 was made to CHIPS, the locally based charity that provides play and social opportunities for children with additional needs aged 3 to 19 years.

Thank you to all who helped make this such a successful and enjoyable experience - not least, of course, the many visitors. We now look forward to the Beer Festival on Saturday 12 September and, yes, to another Beer & Carols on Saturday 19 December 2020.

Chris Seward