Nativity first for city centre church

A Carlisle church is playing host to the city centre’s annual Christmas lights nativity scene for the first time ever.

The six figure nativity is part of the city’s annual Christmas light display and has previously been located in English Street near to the Old Town Hall.

But this year – as a first – the nativity has been erected and lit in the churchyard of St Cuthbert’s on Blackfriar’s Street.

The Rev’d Keith Teasdale, vicar of St Cuthbert’s and city centre chaplain for the last six years, said: “We’re delighted that the nativity has been place in the churchyard. It’s so important that we keep the Christian witness within Christmas and this is an important way to reinforce that message.”

The decision to site the nativity in the church grounds was made in May this year, during preliminary discussions about the city’s Christmas plans.

With the church being so close to large departmental stores, a pub and two public car parks, Mr Teasdale is confident lots of people will have chance to see the nativity.

Mr Teasdale added: “There is certainly a lot of footfall past the nativity and we have already had some really positive comments.

“I actually think the nativity scene has more of a ‘wow factor’ where it is now because of the darker background which means that it stands out more than it did previously.”

There are also hopes that – subject to funding – St Cuthbert’s could be one of a number of city centre buildings which are floodlit for next year’s city centre Christmas festivities.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.