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Christmas tree festival sparks community spirit

A Cumbrian church is reaching out to local community groups through a special Christmas tree festival.

For the first time ever, St Herbert and St Stephen Church in Carlisle has asked different groups to sponsor and decorate their own tree.

The idea is to help engagement with local community groups, following success with similar schemes elsewhere in the county.

Churchwarden and lay reader Richard Corrie brought the idea to the Parochial Church Council who agreed to press ahead with it.

Richard said: “The whole church is fully supportive and not knowing how many groups wanted to get involved we just started preparing.

“We have been really excited with the response. For a first year it is great and if we do it again next year we hope to build on what we have this year!”

So far 18 trees have been sponsored and decorated by community groups who are close to the Blackwell Road church in Currock.

Those involved include The Bishop Harvey Goodwin School, The Eden Park Academy, Eden Children’s Hospice, The Rock Youth Project, Carlisle Breast Care group, The Currock Towns Women’s Guild, The Eden Park Academy and many other organisations attached to St Herbert’s Church.

St Herbert’s vicar, the Rev Alun Jones, is also the Urban Officer for the Carlisle Deanery. He believes projects like the Christmas tree festival will boost community links.

He added: “Engaging with groups from the community of Currock and the surrounding area as part of this festival goes a long way to strengthening the link of the Church at the heart of the community and other important members and organisations in our community.

“It is special because it’s ‘mission and outreach’ which is at the heart of our aims for the coming year ahead.

“The reaction has been amazing, all the comments in the visitors book say how lovely and fantastic the festival is.”

St Hertbert’s congregation members Christine and Geoff Farmer were also central to the success of the scheme, helping organise the event over two weekends.

Alun added: “This event has pulled the people of St Herbert's even closer together than they already are and given them a renewed appetite for community engagement.

“The festival will also hopefully send out a message to the people of the community of Currock that we are here and here for them, with a message of God's love through all that we do.”


Caption details

One of 18 Christmas trees at St Herbert's Church, Carlisle, sponsored by community groups. This was decorated by St Herbert's Messy Church group.


For further information please contact Rev Alun Jones on 01228 523375 or Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434, 01228 560079 or at

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