Christingle at St Mark’s

Christingle at St Mark's

Christingle at St Mark's

A very moving Christingle service conducted by the children from St Mark’s Primary School.

I walked into St Mark’s Church and it was packed, packed with children. Is it normally this busy I asked, no I was told, but this is a special service for the children.

The rector Ian Hedges introduced the service, spoke of the wonderful time we had the previous night with GK’s Funky People, the market the day before, explained that Christingle would normally take place on Christmas Eve, but that it had been brought forward to be part of the four day Christmas Tree Festival and was it not marvellous for it to take place in amongst the trees.

He then handed it over to the children. I could not believe how professional they were, the entire service, they even controlled the sound system. And this was under-11s!

The children explained what Christingle was, explained each part of the symbolism, the orange represented the planet, the red ribbon tied around the orange the blood of Christ, the things they stuck in the orange the fruits of the earth, the points of the compass, traditionally they would have used goose quills, but they made do with cocktail sticks, the candle affixed to the top of the orange the light Jesus shone into the world. The rector then explained lighting of the candles and the precautions to be taken.

The children each then were given a Christingle, the candles were lit, and the lights turned off.

The rector summed up. He said how we take the planet for granted, the fruits of the planet, its seasons. What struck me was how Gaia-centric. [see Christian Theology and Gaia]

The school should be very proud of how the children conducted themselves, the parents proud too.

Christingle has its origins in the Moravian Church. At Christmas 1747, Germany, Bishop Johannes de Watteville thought about how he could explain the love of Jesus to everyone, and what Christmas really meant to the children in the church. He decided to make a simple symbol to express the message of Christmas in a fresh and lively way. Pastor Johannes de Watteville gave each child a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon, with a prayer that said “Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these dear children’s hearts”. This was the first Christingle service.

in 1968, John Pensom of The Children’s Society introduced Christingle services to the Anglican Church, where the custom spread quickly.

Christingle means quite literally Christ-light.

As our thoughts turn to Christmas and Bethlehem, please look to Bethlehem today, an open-air prison encircled by an Apartheid wall. [see Bethlehem Hidden from View]

The next joint production at St Mark’s will be a Victorian Christmas Carol Concert to celebrate 130 years of St Mark’s. 6-30pm Sunday 15 December 2010. Admission Adult £3, non-St Mark’s School Child £1.

Also see

Mary Margaret tells the story of Jonah

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