Take a look back over 50 years of Christingle

People celebrating Christingle taken from above

Last year was a very special year for Christingle, as it marked 50 years since the first Christingle service for The Children's Society was held in this country, at Lincoln Cathedral on 7 December 1968.

But Christingles themselves actually date back even earlier, and began in the Moravian Church in Germany.  

At a children’s service in Marienborn in 1747, Bishop Johannes de Watteville looked for a simple way to explain the happiness that had come to people through Jesus. He decided to give the children a symbol to do this. This was a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon.

At the end of the service, whilst the children held their candles, the bishop said the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these children's hearts that theirs like thine become.’ 

How Christingle grew

In 1968, John Pensom of The Children's Society, known as ‘Mr Christingle’, brought Christingle to this country and introduced it to the Church of England. This involved children decorating an orange with a red ribbon, dried fruits, sweets and a candle to create a new visual representation of Christ, the light of the world, celebrated by the lighting of the Christingle candles.  

The event is now celebrated in hundreds of churches, cathedrals, schools and communities up and down the country.

1968 – First Christingle service for The Children's Society at Lincoln Cathedral 

1970 – 20 churches hold Christingle services 

1974 – The Children’s Society works with 4,500 children 

1980 – First Christingle in Westminster Abbey 

1986 – ‘Christingle’ appears in the Oxford English Dictionary 

1990 – The Children’s Society works with 11,000 children 

1995 – 5,400 Christingles held across the country 

2003 – 1 million people attend Christingle services 

2010 – The Children’s Society works with 48,500 children 

2018 – Celebrate 50 years of Christingle 

Christingle helps children who feel unsafe

 For 50 years now, Christingle has played a vital role in supporting vulnerable young people. And since then, the money raised from donations at services has helped over one million children get the one-to-one care and support that they so urgently need.

The money you raise through your church’s Christingle service will help our project workers be there for the next 50 years, and help thousands more children.