Victorian Christmas Service

We celebrated our Victorian Christmas Service on 11 December, when several people dressed for  the occasion by coming along as 'Victorians'. We enjoyed singing hymns revived or written by the Victorians, such as those published in John Mason Neale's Christmas Hymns and Carols (1853).

We took a look at how people celebrated Christmas. In the case of Hugh Bourne and the early Primitive Methodists - they didn't! Or not as we would understand it. Christmas Day was a day off work, and people went to church, but otherwise it as much like any other day. It is not until the 1880s that we find references to celebrating Christmas in the Primitive Methodist Magazines - for adults or children.

We shared some of the Christmas stories from the Primitive Methodist Magazine, such as Grandfather's Tree (1900, pp ) and John Hilton's Christmas Card (1896, pp 912-15). Death and temperance featured strongly!

Did you know that for the Victorian Primitive Methodists, Christmas trees were a symbol of life after death? Before they were introduced, the main decoration in Victorian homes was the mistletoe bough, which was placed over the doorway as a sign of peace and reconciliation. (Today we associate it more with kissing!) The idea was not to let anyone over the threshold without forgiving and forgetting any enmity that had ensued during the year. Sounds like a tradition worth reviving.

Dates for our Heritage Services 2012

Sunday 8 April, 9.30am - Easter morning service led by Revd Stephen Hatcher

Sunday 27 May, 2.30 - annual Open Air service at Mow Cop

Sunday 24 June, 2.30 - Celebrate the Olympics! Revd Malcolm Lorimer will reveal the links between Primitive Methodists and Sport

Sunday 23 September, 2.30

Sunday 28 October, 2.30

Sunday 9 December, 2.30 - Victorian Christmas service

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