Tom Rout is vicar of the Ipswich Waterfront Churches (St Helen, Holy Trinity and St Luke) and Anglican Chaplain to the University of Suffolk and Suffolk New College. He is married to Nicola and father of 3 young children.
A good traditional English Christmas! That’s what many of us are building up to in the next few weeks. Even residents of Ipswich from other parts of the world (or UK) may be planning to do it the traditional English way; perhaps blending their own national or regional traditions with those local to Suffolk. So, what are the ingredients that make up a traditional English Christmas celebration? A tree for sure; tinsel; lights; presents; stockings; turkey; mince pies; Christmas pudding; the Queen’s speech (and / or the Eastenders omnibus!); a bracing Boxing Day walk (or sales!) But is something missing? Some will say Brussels Sprouts (others will strongly disagree!) but I was thinking more of… a Christmas carol service!
For generations, the traditional English Christmas wasn’t complete without a visit to the local church. People flocked to church in their droves. Even among those who weren’t religious or regular churchgoers, a carol service was seen as obligatory; a key component of the season’s celebrations, a fixture of the festivities. Nowadays, town and country seem to be drifting in different directions. On the whole, it’s the rural communities where this tradition is preserved, while town-dwellers seem to be letting go this aspect of our cultural heritage. But maybe it’s time those of us who live in town recaptured this aspect of a traditional Christmas.
This year, we’re encouraging our town to embrace this English Christmas tradition. We’re inviting people to our Christmas services – with no strings attached or religious inclination required. Some people feel awkward showing up in church, where they may not have been for a while. They shouldn’t! It’s Christmas! Of course everyone’s welcome!
4:00pm St Luke’s, Cliff Lane
6:30pm St Helen’s, St Helen’s Street Lessons and carols
10:30am Holy Trinity, Back Hamlet Christmas Eve Holy Communion
4:00pm St Helen’s, St Helen’s Street
Family Christingle service
10am St Luke’s, Cliff Lane
Family Christmas morning celebration
Come along – and celebrate Christmas the traditional way! Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.