St Mary Magdalene Church in the Bailgate, Lincoln is celebrating the Advent period with its annual Advent Wreath Festival, one of the many attractions of the popular Lincoln Christmas Market.

The church, sited on the corner of Castle Hill and Exchequergate, has 70 wreaths displayed which have all been provided by local businesses and organisations. Over the period of the festival some 3000-4000 people will visit the church to view the wreaths, light a candle for a loved one or say a prayer.

Instrumental in the organisation of the display of wreaths and the festival itself are Chris and Shirley Brook, who are both involved in the daily life of the church. Chris is the Organist and Master of the Choir and Shirley is a member of the Parochial Church Council. In speaking about the annual event, Chris has said: “This is a real showcase event highlighting the businesses and organisations within our community. We are encouraging people to visit the church, to enjoy the displays, perhaps light a candle to say thanks, or in memory of someone special, and take a few minutes away from the bustle of everyday life.”

The Revd Adrian Smith was appointed Vicar during 2018, and he is looking forward to being involved with the festival for the first time: “The Advent Wreath Festival offers us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our local community, and to welcome local people and visitors from further afield into this beautiful church.

“We hope that all who come through the church doors will feel the warmth of our welcome and enjoy the wreaths that have been so kindly supplied by local businesses and organisations. We have a range of events and services planned for Advent and Christmas, and all are welcome to come here and join us as we seek to make time for God during this busy time of waiting and preparation.”

Residents and shoppers also have the opportunity to pop into the Advent Wreath Festival on weekdays between 10.30am and 11.30am, between now and Christmas, with details of further opening times available at http://www.stmarym.org.uk/

Half of the donations received during the festival will go to the ongoing restoration of St Mary Magdalene Church, and half will be given to the city’s homeless community through the YMCA/NOMAD.

Pictured is the Revd Adrian Smith and Shirley Brook.