Around 50 mainly local residents including children, gathered for a parade along Cambrian Road, Chester – the famous 'Christmas Street' of the 2020 Covid lockdown, arriving at the Uniting Church in Garden Lane on Sunday evening 18th December. Led by Matthew Baker local resident and Musical Director, playing the accordion, carols were sung along the street and around the brightly decorated Christmas Tree before processing into the church where Reverend Christine Jones shared the Christmas Story assisted by children taking the parts of Mary and the Baby Jesus, an Angel, a curious Shepherd Boy, and even a bright shining star that hovered above the Nativity scene. More carols were sung with scripture readings by local residents and a duet "Do You Hear What I Hear" was sung by Matt Baker and Lucy Thatcher, who are local residents and professional musicians and part of 'Plum' on Garden Lane. The children sang "Away in a Manger" while Reverend Christine continued to tell the story through the eyes of the Shepherds.
Reverend Christine also explained about the nativity set that had been loving knitted for the church some years ago by local resident Lizzie Noonan, and now displayed every Christmas in the church. She went on to say that the Mary & Joseph and a donkey had been journeying through the Garden Quarter during the period of Advent with a flock of sheep. Each night Mary & Joseph have been staying at a different home leaving one of the sheep behind to be brought back to a local Carol Service. There had also been stop-overs at Northgate Church, the University Carol Service and Homedee House in Garden Lane. Chester City of Sanctuary took the Travelling Nativity from Garden Lane to continue the journey with families until their journey reaches the nearby Parish Church of St Thomas in time for the Christmas Eve Carols by Candlelight at 6.30pm. The Kings will arrive when the knitted nativity arrives for Epiphany at Bluecoat School on January 6th.
Warm drinks and mince pies were enjoyed after the service on Sunday evening and a retiring collection raised £100 for Chester City of Sanctuary.