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Durham Cathedral announce virtual Christmas service plans

20 November 2020

Durham Cathedral is excited to announce its digital service schedule for the Advent and Christmas period.

There will be plenty of opportunity to join together to celebrate the birth of Christ and spread the joy of Christmas online this year, as well as opportunities to visit the cathedral for private prayer and quiet reflection over the festive period. At present, the cathedral is open for this purpose only Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 11am-3pm.

It is with regret that the public will not be able to attend any of the following Christmas services in person (there will be no congregation present at any), but members of the public will be able to join in with worship online (specific details provided next to each service below). 

Advent Procession with Carols

Saturday 28 November, 6pm 

Durham Cathedral heralds the beginning of Advent with a service of lessons and carols, looking forward to celebrating both the birth of Jesus at Christmas and the coming of God’s kingdom. During this processional service, Choir and Clergy move eastwards through the cathedral, from darkness into light, proclaiming a message of hope echoed by the readings and liturgy. This pre-recorded service will be broadcast on Durham Cathedral’s YouTube and Facebook pages. 

Evensong with Lighting of the Christmas Tree and Blessing of the Crib

Sunday 13 December, 3.30pm

Watch as the lights on the magnificent 20 feet tall Norwegian spruce, kindly donated by Ward Bothers and installed by Tyne & Wear Access, are switched on by two very special guests (more to be revealed in the coming days). The Crib will also be blessed during this service and it is particularly suitable for children. This year the cathedral are encouraging people who would usually leave gifts for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Toy Appeal under the tree to instead donate online at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Langley-Moor-The-Salvation-Army. The service will be live-streamed to the cathedral's Facebook page.

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Tuesday 22 December, 6pm 

A real highlight of the Christmas season, the joyful liturgy, readings, and music sung by Durham Cathedral Choir herald the birth of Christ. This pre-recorded service will be broadcast on Durham Cathedral’s YouTube and Facebook pages. 

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass

Thursday 24 December, 11pm

Celebrate the birth of Christ through prayer and the Eucharist as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Day. The service will be live-streamed to the cathedral's Facebook page.

Christmas Day Festal Eucharist

Friday 25 December, 9.30am and 11.30am

Celebrate the birth of Christ with a sung service from Durham Cathedral Choir. The service will be live-streamed to the cathedral's Facebook page.

Christmas Day Evensong 

Friday 25 December, 3.30pm

A joyous service of Evensong sung by Durham Cathedral Choir.  This pre-recorded service will be broadcast on Durham Cathedral’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, said: “There is no denying that 2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year, with the pandemic making daily life and coming together for worship challenging. Christmas provides an opportunity for us to re-connect, whether virtually or in person, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The cathedral plans to spread the joy that surrounds this wonderful time of year with special services from Advent to Epiphany.

“Christmas is also a time for reflection, when we remember those in our local community and across the world who have lost members of their family, as well as those preparing to spend Christmas alone, or without food and shelter; a reality for many this year. To those in any kind of need, we offer the Christmas message of Jesus as light of the world, and pray for a brighter and more forgiving New Year.”

The cathedral’s education team is bringing digital festive activities direct to the classroom throughout December. Hear the Christmas story as told by a friendly fox in the virtual ‘On A Starry Night’ storytelling event. KS1 and KS2 pupils can also discover ‘The Story of St Nicholas’ which comes complete with a Covid-safe resource box full of Christmas themed handling objects and festive crafts.  For more information or to book email education@durhamcathedral.co.uk

There is also still time for those wanting to get into the Christmas spirit to donate to the cathedral and County Durham Community Foundation's Christmas card appeal, which aims to spread a little #ComfortandJoy with vulnerable members of the community. Find out more information at: https://localgiving.org/charity/durhamcathedral/project/Comfort-and-Joy/