Reflections on Sefton Council Carol Service and Christmas display
Ambassador Steve Matthews shares his reflections on Sefton Council's Carol Service and Christmas display.
Following a well-received Easter display in the foyer of Sefton Council’s main offices, our Personnel Manager was very supportive of us putting up a Christmas display. With creative support from a local Christian Theatre Company, we produced a display called ‘Christmas unwrapped’.
This picked up the theme of the different characters in the nativity story, noting that the Christmas message is for everyone – whether the willing (Mary), the marginalised (the shepherds) or the respected in society (the wise men). This was accompanied with a short script which spelt out the theme day by day offering people an opportunity to reflect. Our aim was to produce something more thought provoking than the traditional nativity scene and staff seemed to appreciate it.
On the last day of our display, we advertised our carol service as well as putting posters up and advertising on the intranet and by personal invitation.
This year we added a choir to the repertoire. This Bootle office choir had started in the autumn following a chance suggestion earlier in the year, and by the carol service comprised 20 staff from not only the Council but also the Office for Nuclear Regulation & Charity Commissioners.
The choir has been promoted within the Council by ‘Active Workforce’ and has been a great way of relieving stress at work. The choir helped to boost our numbers at this year’s service, up by about 50% to 100. One of the Council’s senior managers asked if she could play clarinet in our band!
Managing Workplace Stress - A Christian Perspective
The Sefton Council Chief Executive, Dwayne Johnson (pictured on the left), read from the Bible, and Neil Short, local vicar, did a punchy 10-minute talk about God as our father. He suggested people ask God if they wanted to know a little more of his presence with them this Christmas time. He only agreed to do our talk if we organised a follow-up event which he could invite people to so we are planning to have an open forum in February! Both the Christmas display and the carol service – now in its 4th year – are helping to establish a Christian presence at both Sefton Council and the combined office of HSE / Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Charity Commission. We thank God for granting us favour with organisations which support these initiatives and look to God to show us how else he wants us to connect with our colleagues and show his love.