A first for Congleton!
COVID-19 restrictions or the weather conditions didn’t dampen the enthusiasm and people’s spirits for the very first drive-in Carol Service held on Tesco Car Park on the evening of Sunday 13th December, with around 300 cars parked in alternate spaces with over 600 towns people attending.
Unfortunately, over 50 cars had to be turned away due to there being “no room at The Supermarket”.
The very inclement weather leading immediately up to the carol service didn’t inhibit the excellent and orderly car marshalling by members of Congleton Rotary Club and under the watchful eye of local PCSO Ben Hooper. Just as the service was to begin at 6.00pm, the heavens cleared and car windows were able to be wound down.
Christmas music and carols were wonderfully led by The Rode Hall Silver Band, Bible readings meaningfully read by Wendy Cotterill, Tesco Community Champion, Coun. Sally-Ann Holland, Town Mayor and Fiona Bruce, Member of Parliament.
The impassioned and challenging Christmas message was presented by Andy Hawthorne OBE of The Message Trust and entitled “The Gift of Hope”. Very amusingly he began with a worldly view of Christmas. He emphasised the Hope and Joy that comes through the Christian faith, starting with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, concluding with a sacrifice on a cross. Many people hearing the message accepted the invitation to receive a ‘Bag of Hope’ as they left the car park.
The evening also included an interactive presentation of the Christmas story, with members of the New Life Church youth and children’s team in which children and adults participated.
The whole service, which was introduced by the Ven. Ian Bishop, Archdeacon of Macclesfield, thanked everyone for coming and all who had taken part, including June Battye who signed for the hard of hearing, was interspersed with cavalcades of hooting horns and flashing headlights as people showed their appreciation and participation. A truly lively congregation!
The Archdeacon concluded the service with a Christmas blessing on everyone present and special thanks were extended to Tesco Congleton for their support in facilitating the whole event, which was organised by Congleton Bible Week.
The next planned event, COVID-19 regulations permitting, will be in Congleton Town Hall on 7th and 8th May with guest speaker Canon J John, who spoke at the community carol service last December. Watch this space!