Churches across the diocese are planning Christmas trails to spread some comfort and joy in their local communities. Our churches are at the heart of our communities and they are determined that this year Christmas won’t be cancelled. We bring you the Christmas trails from across the Diocese. If you have a trail to add to our collection, contact Katherine on
Holy Trinity Badgeworth, (GL51 4UL) is holding a Christmas Door Trail and Quiz in the churchyard from Sunday 6 December to Boxing Day, during daylight hours. Everyone is welcome to come and explore Holy Trinity churchyard and search for the 25 Christmas doors. Pick up a quiz sheet as you come through the lychgate and enjoy hunting for the doors and the clues to make a line in a popular carol. Drop your quiz sheet into the post box at the village hall with a donation to church funds if you would like to enter the prize draw.
There will be a nativity trail Shurdington, Badgeworth, Witcombe and Bentham with a trail of eight posters each with a picture, a bible quote and a QR code leading to a carol, on YouTube, associated with that part of the Nativity Story.
The Wonder Wander Nativity Trail opens from 28 November with life-sized nativity figures telling their story and reminding us of the reason for the Christmas season.
Abi Nichol, Community Development Worker for the Quarry Chapel has been inspiring people to take part. She said, “Let’s get festive – making bunting, finding story and putting a smile on faces as we put our own sparkle into our local community.
Dursley Town Council, Cam Village Council and Churches Together are providing free bunting kits which you can pick up from the face mask trees in the housing estates, and from Dursley and Cam Post Offices, DTC Building, GL11, Arpers, Bank Cafe, and Bella’s Kitchen.
You can see a map of the nativity trail on the Creative Cafe’s Facebook page and on 21 and 22 December, there will hopefully be pop up cafes with another free creative giveaway.
Thornbury Nativity Trail
The Church in Thornbury is holding a scarecrow nativity, of the traditional characters, made with old clothes – they are looking for families, teams and individuals to make Mary, Joseph, the shepherds (and the sheep they come with), kings (and the camels they come with), angels and the innkeeper, (or anyone else you can dream up).
The figures will be displayed in the roads around St Mary’s Church from 19 to 23 December for people to walk and seek out. On 24 December, they plan to relocate them to the Church ready for the Christmas celebrations. To be part of the fun and build part of the story, " class="broken_link">get in touch with the Revd Joy and let her know what you are hoping to make.
On each day of Advent, a different business or home around Cheltenham will ‘open it’s door’ and be lit up.
The windows remain open from their opening day from at least 5pm until 1st January.
A new digital Nativity Trial has been set up in the North Cheltenham area. Everyone is invited to walk around and visit – the Ridge pub in Wymans Brook, the Sue Ryder charity shop on the Tewkesbury Road, Gardners Lane Primary School, Gas Green Baptist Church in St. Peter’s, St. Nicholas Church in Wymans Brook and St. Lawrence Church in Swindon Village. At each location you will find wooden silhouettes, which are made to look like different parts of the Christmas story. When you find them, you scan the QR code and students from Gardners Lane Primary School will share some of the Christmas story with you. The Revd Tom Cook said, “Because so many people won’t be able to attend Nativity plays in the traditional way the North Cheltenham Team ministry wanted to bring the Christmas spirit out into the community.”
These six stops are not in any particular order, so people are free to travel where they want in one day or over a few days.
When you scan the QR code you will be taken to a YouTube video where you will hear some students reading a specially written story where we follow the journey of a young Angel call Areal who is trying to understand the Christmas story. You will see artwork created by children from the area and a little thank you from some people in the community at the end of the story.
South Cheltenham Churches are filling the churchyard at St Peter’s, Leckhampton with fairy lights and having a walk through event on Christmas Eve, 3pm to 6pm to keep everyone safe.
There will be bubbles of shepherds, angels and kings telling the Christmas story as families journey through the churchyard towards Bethlehem. At the church door, an inn keeper will have hand sanitiser and candles for people to place at the crib. They will even have a chance to boo bad King Herod along the way.
Visit www.southcheltenham.church/christmas for more information.
Forest of Dean
A drive through event taking in displays outside churches in the Forest with additional content on social media. There will be two trails around the Forest of Dean with around eight stations per trail, telling . This will run from Saturday 19 to Thursday 24 December.
The parish of Lydney is creating a street advent calendar with a different window for each of the 24 days of Advent. There will be 24 windows to find, one each day, and each window will stay lit from its lighting time until that household ‘lights out’ – ideally from the date it is revealed, every night until Christmas Eve, when the last window is opened. Check out the Lydney Parish Facebook page to find the street name (not full addresses or household names) for each date and hunt for the window on that street.
St Catharine’s Church Gloucester is placing painted pebbles through the parish with nativity characters on so that they can encourage people to be busy #FindingJesus over the Advent period.
There will be four advent windows in a Kingsholm trail, linking to a weekly theme, plus lots of content on social media and postcards through people’s doors. Take a look at the Christmas flyer 2020.
They’re connecting up with Kingsholm Primary School with a prayer booklet so that people can do prayer activities at home.
Organiser Jo Sanders said, “This is a great opportunity to help more people engage with what Christmas really means.” For more information or to get involved with the videos or dropping off #FindingJesus postcards, please contact Jo S as soon as possible by email on .
St Oswald’s Church and community in Coney Hill are running a Giant Window Advent Calendar Trail beginning on 1 December. If you would like to be part of the trail, or get a copy of the trail, visit The Giant Advent Calendar’s Facebook page or get in touch with Sonya Newton, Pioneeer Minister at St Oswald’s Church on
Tuffley Christmas windows are organised by the churches of St Barnabas, Gloucester, St George’s Tuffley and St Margaret’s, Whaddon with English Martyrs Roman Catholic and Grange Baptist. Contact the Revd Sarah Todd n for more information or for a map of all the windows visit the Facebook page facebook.com/TuffleyChristmasWindows.
A living advent calendar will take place in Gotherington, to bring festive cheer to the village. Each participating household signs up for one of the days of advent and creates their masterpiece in their window, to spread some comfort and joy to passers by. To avoid groups gathering, they will aim to have the windows lit up between 5pm and 9pm each night and for the previous windows to remained lit up over as much of Advent as possible. This will enable people to visit the windows in their own bubbles. This year, they are not able to provide the usual hospitality, but hope that this will return next year.
Highnam will be holding an Angel Trail. Over a short 2km (30mins) walk through Highnam, families, members of the community and beyond, can follow the story of Christmas as told by the Angels. QR code -carrying angels will be waiting to be discovered to tell a snippet of the Christmas story. All you need is to pick up a map outside Highnam School and see what else you can discover on your journey!
People in Stroud are being encouraged to take part in their Advent window trail – watch one of the windows come to life in this video and find out how you can get involved.
Bisley Benefice have created two online Advent Calendars, with many contributions from people throughout the benefice, one for adults and one for children. The calendar for adults is now live, and can be visited here. The calendar for children is also now live and can be visited here or on the Bisley Benefice and their Facebook page. For further information contact Revd Sue Murray
Each day there will be something different shared from people across the benefice – take a look at the first entries!
Blockley Church kicks off the Living Advent Calendar, where a new ‘window’ is opened every evening until 24 December, and lit until 6 January.
For a map see www.blockleychurch.org.uk
If you fancy looking back on Christmas, here’s a roundup video of Frampton on Severn’s Christmas windows.
Sodbury Vale Benefice has gone online for its (Not The) Crib Festival 2020! This would have been the 10th year of displays of crib scenes from around the world and this year it is going online with a series of memories from years past. Crib Festival booking
The @glosdiocschools Twitter account is providing four short videos, released on every Tuesday in December, with each week telling a different part of the Christmas story. From Mary being visited by the angel to the birth of Jesus, these videos will help to create an individual response to the Christmas story. Every day they will tweet with links to stories, songs and ideas to bring comfort and joy at this very special time of year.
Gloucester Cathedral will be sharing an interactive digital advent calendar on Facebook.
Coney Hill, Gloucester: The Revd Sonya Newton is leading a DIY nativity set follow along, using toilet rolls and cereal packets. Every Sunday afternoon at 3pm from 29 November to Christmas, you can make your own nativity set. Each week you will hear different parts of the nativity story. Find out more.
Christian Aid South West will be offering a taste of Christmas each day on their Facebook account, offered by different supporters.
Discover DeCrypt is holding an interactive Zoom crib service on Christmas Eve. Come dressed as a character from the Christmas story, or wear your Christmas jumper or a festive hat. Children must have an adult with them at all times. Email for the Zoom link.