Norwich Cathedral launches festive programme with special advent service
- Credit: Bill Smith
Festive spirit well and truly filled the air at two special events that celebrated the beginning of Advent at Norwich Cathedral.
Crowds gathered on Friday, November 30 ahead of Advent Sunday for the blessing of the outdoor crib which took place during the cathedral's annual Advent Open Evening.
Away in a Manger and O Little Town of Bethlehem were among the carols sung by the Cathedral Choir during the short service led by the Very Revd Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich, and the Revd Canon Andy Bryant, Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care – and some special farmyard guests also visited the Cathedral for the occasion.
The Dean of Norwich said: 'We were delighted to see hundreds of people at the blessing of our outdoor crib and once again to welcome Jelly the cow, Spice the donkey and four sheep - named on the night, the Spice Girls - together with their owners.
'Along with the Cathedral Choir this all added to the wonderful atmosphere as we gathered beneath the floodlit cathedral with Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus in the foreground.
'Having a nativity scene outside the cathedral means that people can come at any time and stand and think about what Christmas is all about - God giving himself to the world in a tiny, vulnerable baby.'
Following the blessing on Friday, there was also time for people to explore the cathedral by night and enjoy the newly-decorated Christmas trees as well as walk through a candlelit labyrinth in the Cloister Garth and enjoy some Christmas crafts.
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Those missing a loved one can place a star in their memory on the Cathedral's Tree of Remembrance which will stand outside the Hostry until January 5.
On Sunday evening, people of all ages once again gathered at the Cathedral for the Candlelit Advent Procession.
'Through music, readings, prayers and movement, the Advent Procession took us on a journey from the creation of the world to the promise of a Saviour to bring peace, hope and joy to all God's children,' said the Dean.
All are welcome to attend any of the many festive services at Norwich Cathedral in the run up to Christmas or just simply enjoy the Cathedral's beautiful surrounds.
This weekend the Cathedral's Christingle service will take place on Sunday at 3.30pm. The service is in support of the Children's Society and its work to help vulnerable young people.
For more details about the Christingle service and all of Norwich Cathedral's Christmas events and services, visit www.cathedral.org.uk.