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Gloucester Cathedral aiming to bring comfort and joy to all this Christmas

Gloucester Cathedral's 'From Your Cathedral To You' Christmas campaign aims to give people across the city, county and diocese a positive memory after a difficult year.

The Cathedral's aim is to bring the community safely together in joyful and spiritual celebration - either in person or online - so they can enjoy the things that make Christmas, albeit a slightly different one this year.

The Cathedral will be open to visitors from today (Wednesday, December 2) and all donations received through the Entry by Donation scheme will go directly to the Cathedral's Beacon of Hope Appeal.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said: "Jesus was born into a crisis; Roman occupation. The birth of God here among us brought hope to a dark world. Your Cathedral brings hope into Christmas 2020. Do come and visit. We offer all this From Your Cathedral To You."

People are invited to come and have a heart-warming Christmas experience this year, so along with a family-friendly trail explaining the nativity story, the Cathedral will be decorated with special festive flower arrangements and lights.

And for the first time in the Cathedral's history, during this Christmas period only, the spectacular carved stone ceiling in the Quire will be illuminated. One of the Cathedral's crowning glories, this was built as an image of Heaven on earth. Just remember to look up!

Family bubbles are encouraged to come and take Christmas selfies to share with the Cathedral through social media channels. The much loved, life-size knitted 'Knitivity' will be on display too.

Each visiting group will receive a beautifully illustrated Christmas card along with information about the Cathedrals' online services, a prayer and a tealight candle to take home. Carols will be played or sung during opening hours which will also include some evenings. Attendance in the evening will be by pre-bookable ticket only. For dates and times, please visit our website.

An exciting daily Digital Advent Calendar video will be shared across social media channels and on the Cathedral website to highlight different areas of Cathedral life and the work of some of its partners. Each video offers a festive activity for you to take part in, which will hopefully bring you a little bit of 'Comfort and Joy' this season. Take a look every day in the run-up to Christmas.

Alongside the usual Sunday services, all main Christmas services will be livestreamed for people to watch online.

Two special online Christmas services will take place on Sunday, December 20, at 3pm: Online Christmas Celebration Service (suitable for families) and on Wednesday, December 23, at 6pm: Online Carols, Anthems and Readings (a more traditional service).

The Cathedral's new Christmas Craft Activities resource will provide ten easy and accessible craft activities that bring the Christmas story to life.

The Cathedral is hosting the Gloucestershire Sanctuary Fellowship Christmas Tree for the Homeless and is encouraging the public to make decorations for the tree this year.

It is also working with Gloucester City Mission to be the main collection point for their Homeless Hamper campaign. Between Friday 4 and Friday 11 December visitors can drop off donations such as mince pies, chocolate, pot noodles, tea, toiletries, hats, gloves and scarves to a collection point in the Cathedral Nave. The hampers will be distributed during breakfast club on Sunday 20 December.

As part of Gloucester Cathedral's Beacon of Hope Appeal, you have the chance to purchase a limited-edition hurricane lantern, which has been illustrated by Cheltenham-based calligrapher, Emma Barnes. There are just 250 lanterns available, with a unique number on each. It will be yours to treasure forever as a monument from this remarkable period of history, serving as your very own beacon of hope to have inside your home.

To find out more about Christmas 2020 at Gloucester Cathedral, including opening times, services and events, please visit www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk 

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