Over the coming weeks 700 baby Jesus figures will be going out into the Alford and Willougby area in the hope that people will be inspired to make their own window nativity scene that will bring some joy and remind people of the Christmas story.  Nativity scenes can be as simple or as extravagant as people wish ranging from a simple matchbox for the crib to put the figure in to a full nativity. 

This initiative was adopted by Alford Churches Together which incorporates the eleven churches of The Alford Group of Churches, together with the Methodist Church and Alford Storehouse, an evangelical Christian church. The figures were made by staff and volunteers at St Wilfrid’s Alford and Alford Storehouse.

Every child in primary school and every business and shop will be given a wooden figure for them to put in a crib and display in a window nativity scene. Indeed, Christmas has come very early at the local coach company as they have already created a window display with baby Jesus and the three wise men who have travelled on a red London bus to visit him! They will also be included in the food bank parcels going out from Alford Foodbank. 

The Revd Sherine Angus, Assistant Curate in the Alford Group of Churches organised the project. She said: “We wanted to bring some joy to people at this difficult time when the newspaper headlines are suggesting that Christmas is cancelled” she said. “We normally have a crib service that is attended by hundreds of local people but obviously that is now not going to be possible so we had to think of something else” she added. 

She continued, “I wanted to find a way of engaging people with the Christmas story that would work in our current circumstances.  I really liked the lovely rainbows that people put in their windows to show support to the NHS so I thought that for Christmas people could put nativity scenes in their windows. To make it really fun, and to engage with our community, I thought it would be nice if we provided the baby Jesus’ and we would ask people to make him a bed.  I have also produced a leaflet to accompany the figure and after chatting to Alford Storehouse and the Methodist church they were keen to be involved.  We are encouraging everyone to look out for nativity windows around Alford as a way of engaging the whole community.”

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received from our community - from our local shops, schools and businesses” said Sherine.  One shopkeeper reported to her that although they didn’t normally put a nativity scene in the window that this year they had planned to as they had felt that ‘this year more than ever we needed to focus on what Christmas means’. 

Sue Belton, headteacher at St Helena’s Primary school was generous in her praise for Sherine. She said, “in these strange times, our children are growing used to Revd Sherine’s random acts of kindness.  Her creative ideas such as a DIY Christingle, nativity window crafts and even dressing up as the little red hen, engage the children in talk, action, laughter and connection.  There is nothing better than that!”

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

Those who lived in a land of deep darkness – 

On them light has shined.

For a child has been born for us  (Isaiah 9: 2, 6)

The flyers can be see at these links: 'Make a Crib for Jesus' and Nativity flyer for the Shops