Preparing for Advent & Christmas 2020: Comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy holds together the hope that Christmas will bring joy and celebration after a uniquely difficult year with an acknowledgement that – for those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods, or who are potentially still not able to be together with loved ones – it may be the Church’s role, both nationally and locally, to provide consolation, rather than assume everyone will be ready to join in jubilation. 

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Comfort and Joy book and app mockups.

This Christmas the Church will need, in the words of St Paul in Romans 12.15, to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep’. We will aim to celebrate where we can together in one place – but also embrace a wider community that wants to join in the celebration but may not be physically able – or emotionally ready – to do so. We hope that Comfort and Joy will enable us to build a campaign that both enables us to reconnect with the rich and joyous traditions of the past and to offer God’s consoling love in the present. 

What are the key elements of Comfort and Joy?

As in previous years, the national Church will work with dioceses and churches to make a range of digital and print content available, branded with the Comfort and Joy theme:

Reflections

There will be weekly reflections published on social media and available by email and app for each Sunday of Advent. We have partnered with a number of public figures to produce short reflections exploring the theme. Comfort and Joy: Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas mirrors the structure of a traditional carol service, exploring both biblical texts and the words of much-loved Christmas carols.

The reflections for each day from Christmas Day to 2 January feature contributions from Kate Bottley, Jonathan Bryan, Bob Chilcott, Martha Collison, Stephen Cottrell, Guli Francis-Dehqani, Chine McDonald, Sally Phillips and Justin Welby. The booklet is introduced by the Archbishops and has been edited by the Ven John Kiddle, Archdeacon of Wandsworth, author of the best-selling God With Us: Your Christmas Journey.

They will also be made available freely via audio, smart speaker, as well as via app and email formats with accompanying prayer activities for children and families.

Working with the Archbishop of York's Youth Trust and the Evangelism & Discipleship team, we will also produce a series of youth reflections in December.

National online services streaming dates

In collaboration with a range of Christian charities and organisations, we will produce nine online services throughout Advent and Christmas. This will include an online service for each Sunday of Advent, a Christingle with the Children's Society, nine lessons and carols and midnight services. Charities involved include Christian Aid, Church Army, Embrace and Marie Curie. The online weekly services have been very well received on social media and continue to attract a diverse audience including regular churchgoers, people exploring faith and a wide age demographic. They will all be broadcast on the Church's YouTube and Facebook pages.

  • 29 November 9:00am - Worship at Home for the First Sunday of Advent with St Martin-in-the-Fields
  • 6 December 9:00am - Worship at Home for the Second Sunday of Advent with HOPE Together
  • 13 December 9:00am - Worship at Home for the Third Sunday of Advent. A Christingle service with The Children's Society
  • 20 December 9:00am - Worship at Home for the Fourth Sunday of Advent with Marie Curie
  • 22 December 9:00am - Worship at Home: A service of Lessons and Carols with Christian Aid
  • 24 December 11:30pm - Worship at Home: Midnight Mass with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Dover
  • 27 December 9:00am - Worship at Home for the First Sunday of Christmas with Church Army
  • 31 December 9:00am - Worship at Home: A service with the Archbishop of York on New Year's Eve
  • 3 January 9:00am - Worship at Home for Epiphany with Embrace the Middle East

Printed materials

Bookmarks, Christmas cards, banners, flyers, posters, booklets and other printed items are available for churches to purchase, as in previous years. Pre-printed materials are available (along with copies of the Reflections booklet) to order via Church House Publishing

Visit Church House Publishing

A Church Near You

In Advent and Christmas, we will encourage churches to list the full range of church building (where permissible) and online services taking place. This year, AChurchNearYou.com has already received 50 million page views, and 80 per cent of visitors were on the site for the first time. Add your church's services and events today.

As well as promoting services, A Church Near You editors can also access the Resource Hub, which will provide a range of free resources, such as customisable videos, images, social media graphics and approaches to online giving.

Downloadable hymns are also available on the Hub for all Church of England churches to use for free. We will be sharing music from across the traditions that churches can use as part of online and in-person services and events. This will be available through the ACNY Resource Hub, where music has already been downloaded more than 250,000 times over the last few months, thanks to the partnership with St Martin-in-the-Fields and RSCM.

Along with nine carols for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, the Resource Hub will also host service templates that can be downloaded.

Visit A Church Near You

Daily Hope

Daily Hope is a free phone number (0800 804 8044) offering music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. We are delighted that the Comfort and Joy reflections, services and some of the music will also be available throughout Advent and Christmas. This will enable as many people as possible to access the content we are developing.

Campaign colours

The campaign colours for Comfort and Joy.

 

Primary

  • Dark blue - #338bc4
  • Dark red - #c44747

Secondary

  • Dark green - #578a8e
  • Light blue - #5eb4da
  • Gold - #e6a921
  • Pale green - #90a7a2
  • Tacao - #edb890
  • Pale red - #d8606e
  • Lilac - #d8abd0

Font

  • Jubilat
  • Bold variant used for 'Comfort'
  • Thin variant used for 'Joy'

The Jubilat font can be accessed through the Adobe Font package with a Creative Cloud license.

Alternatively, for a free similar font Alfa Slab One can be used.