Churches work together to spread the Christmas message in Kirkby Town Centre

Eleven churches of different denominations are joining together to share the Christmas message with shoppers in Kirkby.

Eleven churches of different denominations are joining together to share the Christmas message with shoppers in Kirkby. The churches, in partnership with Knowsley Foodbank and In-Shops Traders and will host a range of family-friendly Christmas activities in five retail units provided free of charge by the In-Shops in Kirkby between Thursday 20th December to Saturday 22nd December.

Activities will run from 10am to 4pm each day. Activities over the three days include arts and crafts, candle-making, face painting, balloon modelling, puppets and gift bags for children.

Local teenagers will also star in a contemporary interactive nativity which will be performed at 12 noon on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st, and at 12 noon and 2pm on Saturday 22nd. Any donations will go towards raising money for the young people’s pilgrimage to the Diocese of Virginia next year. The Kirkby Community Choir will also join the teenagers in singing Christmas Carols on the Saturday afternoon.

One of the units will be made into a ‘Sacred Space’ in which prayers can be written and placed on a Prayer Tree. The space will be quiet and reflective, with members from the churches’ healing and bereavement teams available to talk to people and offer personal prayer. Visitors will also be able to find out about the Kirkby Bereavement Support group and monthly prayers of remembrance, and also take part in some relaxation therapy.

Members of the public will also be able to find out about the Kirkby Food Bank and are invited to make donations of non-perishable food which will help local people in crisis during the festive period. There will also be an opportunity to find out about debt counselling, and practical support will be on offer to those who are struggling with debt related issues.

Last year, the local C of E churches had two units for one day providing fun activities and engaging with around 150 people. The increased unit space donated by In-Shops means that the Church of England is now able to join with other denominations over three days, accommodating up to 1000 people during that time. The churches involved this year are: St. Andrew’s, St. Chad’s, St. Mark’s, St. Martin’s, Lifegate Church, Kirkby Christian Fellowship, Jubilee Church, St. Peter & Paul, St. Mary Mother of God, St. Joseph & St. Laurence and St Michael and all Angels.

Rev Jayne VanDenBerg Owens from Kirkby St Martin church, said: “Christmas can be a really stressful time, and brings to the surface a range of emotions. We hope to use each unit in a different way to accommodate that. We want to welcome people to take some time out, think about the meaning of Christmas and enjoy some companionship. The range of activities also provides a fun way for youngsters to learn about the Christmas story. We are extremely grateful to area manager James Greenlees who has worked closely with us to provide the space (free of charge) and the opportunity to connect with as many people as possible. The extra space this year also means that we are able to reinforce the links between different churches and congregations, and strengthen the relationship between the churches in Kirkby, Knowsley Foodbank and the local traders.”