Christmas 2015 at St Paul's
It was lovely to see many visitors in church over the Christmas period, looking around and at our services, some of whom we recognised from last year. Many of them said they had come back to Grange because they wanted to see the festival again, to join us in services and enjoy our ‘very welcoming church’. Some were marooned in Grange by the floods – but still enjoyed their visit to the town.
The numbers coming into church during the festival (not including services) was 1299, a little down on last year but excellent in view of the weather. We survived the terrible weather throughout the month, with wind and rain blowing into the porch resulting in us having to move the U3A Tree into church. People came in dripping wet - but inside church the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.
All the money raised was shared between Bay Search and Rescue and St Mary’s Hospice who each received a cheque for £500 - a really good result. Both of these are important local charities contributing much to the people who live in the area and to visitors.
No fewer than 42 members of our congregations volunteered to sit in the church and welcome our visitors during the Festival – a massive show of support and dedication from all.
THE CHRISTMAS FAIR
The fair took place on the first Saturday of December (Extravaganza Saturday) and what terrible weather we had (the first day of the floods). In addition to the cheques from the festival our Christmas Fair helped St Mary’s Hospice, St Mary’s Hospice Friendship and Hospitality Group (our local Cancer Care Group), the school Fair Trade stall, Baysearch and Rescue and the Church Flower Team stalls to raise around £1000 between them.
We had a few church stalls and thank all those who donated things to sell and those who set up and manned the stalls. Because of the amount of items we had to sell, our stalls and the Cancer Care stall stayed in church until just before Christmas. The money we raised, together with the money raised at the Flutes and Co Concert, gave us £802 for church funds over the Christmas period so we did very well.
Many of the events in the Grange Extravaganza had to be disbanded but we ploughed on and about 200 people came through our doors. The water poured through the west stained glass window and from the front doors into the porch. We moved the U3A tree inside. This caught some people out as they followed their guide to the trees!
FLUTES AND CO
This was a wonderful concert and much enjoyed by everyone. We were surprised by such a large audience – about 160. The supporters of the musicians brought cakes and we provided drinks and fortunately we had enough for everyone. It was a very busy church during refreshment time!
GRANGE CE PRIMARY END OF TERM SERVICE
Those who came to the service thoroughly enjoyed the readings and the carols from the children. The church was well filled with children and families and was an appropriate end to term and beginning of the Christmas break. The children sang so well and many adults commented on the quality of the reading. There was a generous collection at the end for the flood victims.
THE CAROL SERVICE
As last year we tried to make this a service for the town and also welcomed members of other churches. Over 180 people attended. Charles had included members of our own congregation in the choir and also singers from elsewhere. The service was applauded by many of the congregation. One gentleman suggested we made a CD!
The Readers were:
As normal the carol service ended with mulled wine and nibbles which were very well received.
THE CHRISTINGLE SERVICE
Yet again, another successful service, with even bigger numbers than usual – over 300. The generous giving enabled us to send £348 (including GA) to the Children’s Society. A big thank you goes to the school for distributing the Christingle candles to fill with coins before the service.