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Wanstead churchgoers craft Christingles on 50th anniversary of festival

PUBLISHED: 10:06 10 December 2018

Worshippers make 440 Christingle oranges at in Christ Church, in Wanstead Place, on Wednesday, December 5. Photo: Wanstead Parish

Worshippers make 440 Christingle oranges at in Christ Church, in Wanstead Place, on Wednesday, December 5. Photo: Wanstead Parish

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Wanstead churchgoers came together to craft hundreds of Christingles to give to senior congregation members on the 50th anniversary of the festival in the UK.

Worshipper light Christingles at a service in Christ Church, in Wanstead Place, on December 5. Photo: Canon Ann ClarkeWorshipper light Christingles at a service in Christ Church, in Wanstead Place, on December 5. Photo: Canon Ann Clarke

Fourteen Wanstead Parish worshippers spent more than two hours preparing more than 450 oranges decorated in ribbons, candles and sweets in Christ Church, in Wanstead Place, on Wednesday, December 5.

The carefully decorated fruits - known as Christingles - were then given to worshippers following the 10.30am Eucharist on Thursday, December 6.

The Recorder spoke with rector Rev Dr Jack Dunn – on the 50th anniversary of the tradition in the country – to better understand its origins and meaning.

“The orange represents God’s earth,” he said.

“The red ribbon, Jesus’ blood - he died for us and his love embraces the whole world.

“The four sticks are the four seasons or the four corners of the Earth (north, south, east and west).

“The sweets are the fruits of the earth.

“The candle represents Jesus Christ, the light of the world.”

Two Christingle services held at Christ Church on Wednesday drew in more than 440 worshippers across all ages.

These services “reminds us that we are all God’s children and we are all part of His family and we all have a duty and a joy to take His light out into the forgotten corners of the world”, Rev Dunn said.

He added: “It should also be noted that some members of our community come to these Christingle services who we never see at any other time of the year.

“They are an important way of connecting with a very wide range of people and often bring in people of different faiths.”

The festival dates back to the Moravian Church in Germany in the 1700s, when Bishop Johannes de Watteville sought to find a visual symbol to explain the happiness that had come to people through Jesus.

He settled on a candle wrapped in a red ribbon.

The tradition was brought to the UK in 1968 John Pensom of children’s charity The Children’s Society and the symbolism was developed to include fruit and sweets.

Donations given at the Wanstead Parish services will be given to the charity.

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