My two different Christingle experiences

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Tim participated in his first Christingle 21 years ago. This year, he returns to the service, helping hundreds organise events across the country.

Tim Holmes at age 10 - a young boy sitting on steps

I was waiting in the aisle of St Peter and St Paul church in Bromley, Christingle in hand, eagerly anticipating the lighting on the candles and the procession through the congregation…

That is one of my strongest memories of participating in a Christingle service at age 10. Christingle happened every year in the church my family attended when I was growing up. Being part of the church choir, I was very used to participating in various church services and events, but Christingle always stood out as something a bit special. It may just have been the effect of eating too many of the sweets but looking back now I think it was more than that!

Tim at a church service

As a 10-year-old, the fundraising side of Christingle passed me by and to be honest I had no idea who The Children’s Society were. My parents may well have donated but, for me, learning about the message of Christingle while enjoying the special candlelit event was enough. Being allowed to carry a lit candle around was exciting in itself.

The other side of Christingle

Twenty-one years on and I’m at my desk at The Children’s Society, reviewing the months of work that I’ve put into helping Christingle events happen across the country this year, with a sense of trepidation about whether this year will be the success I hope it will be. As an Appeals Officer, I’m responsible for producing the fundraising materials, guides, service plans and many other resources and communications needed to make Christingle work for the smallest parish church all the way up to the biggest cathedral.

Most of my work is now done so it is down to all the dedicated organisers to make their events a success. 

From my desk, it is easy for me to forget what is so special about Christingle when I have been so deeply involved in stock levels, targets and mailing lists every day for several months. So it is nice to take a moment to remember what it was like for me all those years ago and think about what the children will be experiencing in Christingle events across the country this Christmas.

What is the real reason?

We now live in a society where even 10-year-old children know there are others who are less fortunate than them and that their fundraising efforts can make a difference to someone in need. 

So this year we have thousands of children taking home their Christingle collection candles, donating their pocket money and asking their parents to help. This is all for the benefit of the many thousands of other children in this country who need our support. 

I am looking forward to hearing about all the stories of amazing fundraising efforts and what all those Christingle donations will total in the end. It does make the long build up and hard work all worthwhile. If you can take your family along to a Christingle event this year, I really recommend it.

Learn how to organise a Christingle in your church this Christmas.

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