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Silent Night Carols - this Christmas
Sports stadia and other venues are preparing to hold Silent Night Carol Services in December 2014.
Click here for a step by step guide to holding Silent Night Carols in a church or stadium near you.
To download this video click here
The Christmas truce in 1914
This year marks the centenary of the First World War truce in the trenches. Troops started singing the carol Silent Night in German and in English on Christmas Eve 1914. The fighting stopped and enemies ventured into No Man’s Land to talk and exchange gifts. Some even played football. British soldier, Albert Moren, who was in the front-line trenches near the village of La Chapelle d'Armentieres recalled hearing Silent Night sung during the truce: ‘It was a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere ... there was a lot of commotion in the German trenches and then there were those lights - I don't know what they were. And then they sang "Stille Nacht" - "Silent Night". I shall never forget it. It was one of the highlights of my life.’
The Evening Mail, Newcastle, 31st December 1914 printed this letter: ‘On Christmas Day one of the Germans came out of the trenches and held his hands up. Our fellows immediately got out of theirs, and we met in the middle, and for the rest of the day we fraternised, exchanging food, cigarettes and souvenirs. The Germans gave us some of their sausages, and we gave them some of our stuff. The Scotsmen started the bagpipes and we had a rare old jollification, which included football in which the Germans took part. The Germans expressed themselves as being tired of the war and wished it was over. They greatly admired our equipment and wanted to exchange jack knives and other articles. Next day we got an order that all communication and friendly intercourse with the enemy must cease but we did not fire at all that day, and the Germans did not fire at us.’
New for Christmas 2014
The carol Silent Night was first performed in 1818. This year a new version, specially adapted for Hope14’s Greater Love initiative, will be sung in sports stadia, churches and wherever people sing Christmas carols.
Click here for a How-to guide prepared by Bolton Wanderers’ Chaplain and Bradford Bulls Chaplain who have both staged stadium carol events in previous years.
Click here for Greater Love resources to help you prepare for Silent Night Carols - and to give away to guests.
Other resources being prepared by HOPE include:
Silent Night Carols in a sports stadium near you
A free Silent Night Carol Service programme with the words of the carols and an introduction to the theme, sponsored by Tearfund
Piano, vocal and choral scores for the new version of the carol Silent Night
Scripts and ideas for short talks suitable for sports stadium events
Ideas for schools
HOPE is working with Sports Chaplaincy UK to equip local clubs, community groups and churches to stage the events. Pilot events have been held in several stadia - indoors and out in the stands. In 2011 Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Aldershot Town and Shrewsbury Town football clubs held carol events at their stadiums with the help of sports chaplains, local school choirs and Salvation Army bands. In 2012 the idea spread to 15 clubs, and in 2013 more than 50 sports stadiums around the country hosted a carol event for fans and other members of the community.
AFC Bournemouth’s Chaplain, Rev Andy Rimmer, Vicar of the Lantern Church in Merley near Bournemouth, has held several carol services with fans and players at the Cherries’ ground. As the Cherries’ Chaplain, Andy says: ‘I enjoy getting to know the lads and occasionally training with them. We have pre-match prayer which a few of them attend. Sport is a tremendous gift from God and it’s where people are. The carol service is a chance to celebrate Jesus’ birth in a completely unique environment. We want this event to have a real community feel as well as being attended by supporters of the clubs.’
The tried-and-tested formula for the carol services includes local choirs, bands and the club’s players or manager reading some of the familiar Bible passages about the nativity story.