Football stadium carols in 2012

AFCB StadiumMore men sing in sports stadiums than in churches each week. This Christmas, Christians headed to their local stadiums and invited football and rugby fans to celebrate the festive season on turf where they feel most at home.
 
Carol services can be sedate affairs by candlelight, but not these events. The aim is to welcome sports fans to join in a community-wide Christmas event that makes the most of the stadium atmosphere, singing carols together.

HOPE is helping local churches to work with sports chaplains and sports clubs to build on the events of 2012 and see many more in 2013. Organisers book guests such as Linvoy Primus, other Christian footballers, or evangelists like Steve Legg to take part.

The Carols took place:
   
Bolton Wanderers FC – 10th December. Read how Bolton event went
Bradford Bulls RFL – 12th December
Leeds United – 17th December
AFC Bournemouth – 18th December.
Portsmouth FC
– 18th December

In 2011 Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Aldershot Town and Shrewsbury Town football clubs held carol services at their stadiums with the help of sports chaplains, local school choirs, Salvation Army bands and organisations such as Faith in Football.
 
Andy Rimmer, the Chaplain for AFC Bournemouth (aka the Cherries), organised the club’s first community carol service in 2011 at the Dean Court stadium in partnership with HOPE.

“It was great to hold the celebration in the main stand the first year. This carol service is a chance to share the gospel in a completely unique environment and we want this event to have a real community feel as well as being attended by supporters of the club. 2012's event saw significantly more community come along which was excellent. My vision for the future is to see the whole main stand, which holds 3,000 people, packed out. Maybe this year!”


The vision of Sports Chaplaincy and HOPE is to see every stadium in the country host a carol service for fans at Christmas 2013, and to see partnerships with churches, sports chaplains and sports clubs growing stronger. Bradford Bulls (Rugby League), Leeds Utd, Scunthorpe FC, Watford FC and Blackpool FC are planning to hold an event for 2013
 
Contact your local football, rugby or sports club and sports chaplain and offer to help them to hold a community carol concert at their stadium for next year. Christmas is an amazing opportunity for sports clubs to stage special events for their fans, and for churches to build community and share the gospel.