for the
Christingle Service
St. Augustine's

2003 December 24

These are notes and comments on some of the items which appear in the Christingle Service script. Links from the script point to these entries; clicking the links in the left hand column of the table takes you back to the corresponding link in the script - or, where more than one link from the script points to the note, back to the first such link.

The comments are typically related to features of the service which are specific to our church or the time of the service, or which for some other reason we think might require alteration for another setting.

For references to the internal geography of the church, it might be helpful to inspect the plan.


  • As much as possible of the red ribbon should be installed before the service starts. Details will depend on your organisation. We had to keep one section detached ( the "washing line" - so called because that's rather what it looked like ) because its final position was too high to reach, and we connected a few items manually at the front because it does look better, and they were safely out of the way.

  • The side table is at the front of the church on the Hospital side. It carries the pictures listed below.


  • Demonstration Christingle at the lectern for the Narrator to demonstrate.

  • Pictures on the side table ready to be given out in the order listed below.

  • Figures of Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus on the side table ready to be given out in the order listed.

  • Representations of sheep ( a doll ), gold, frankincense, and myrrh on the side table, ready to be given out in the order listed.
  • Helpers : During the service, there are many supporting activities - moving things about, connecting the ribbon, etc. - which can be done by pretty well anyone, and details might well depend on the geography of your building and decisions you make in the production. We have identified people carrying out these tasks as "helpers". We have found it advisable to allocate all such tasks to explicitly identified people, and to ensure that they can comfortably reach the places where they have to be in good time for the next task.

  • The side table server looks after the side table. The server's task is to give out items to the helpers who will take them to various parts of the church. You need someone alert and capable to make sure that the items go in the right order to the right people.

BABY JESUS. A doll. The size of the doll should be appropriate to that of the manger, not to that of the Joseph and Mary figures. Our doll was approximately life-sized.

CANDYSTICK. The candystick was there because we'd used some in our Carol Service. It has no particular significance for the Christingle Service.

CHRISTINGLE The Narrator used our demonstration Christingle.

GUARDING THE LINE. A precaution; the "washing line" was originally at a low level at the back of the church, and it seemed to be a good idea to appoint someone to make sure that it was still there when required.

FISHING LINE. We used fishing line to support the ribbon etc. at places where no other support was easily available. The interior walls of our church are mostly rough brick, and other obvious ways of providing support would either be obtrusively obvious or mess up the brick. It is comparatively easy to attach the line at the top of the wall, and it is almost invisible against the brick.

JOSEPH AND MARY. We used papier-mache figures of Joseph and Mary which we have had for a long time. They are perhaps 25cm high. Any recognisable alternative which could be clearly seen throughout the church would do.

LIGHTS OUT Not necessary, but it makes the candles show up better. People seem to like it.

PICTUREHANGER. The picturehanger is responsible for placing the pictures on the "washingline". This isn't quite as easy as it sounds, because there are a fair number of pictures ( see below ) which must be fairly regularly distributed along the line, and it's rather easy to begin with gaps which are too wide or too narrow, forcing a compensatory shift to the other extreme as the line fills up.

PICTURES. The pictures were just that - typically around A4-sized pictures representative in some way of the items they represent : "light", "darkness", "water", "land", "sky", "plants", "grain", "fruit", "sun", "moon", "stars", "fish", "birds", "large animals", "small animals", "Jesus's baptism", "Jesus teaching from a boat", "Jesus healing the woman", "Jesus saying 'Your sins are forgiven'", "Jesus saying 'My peace I leave with you'", "Jesus".

Each picture was mounted on light card, with two wire hooks attached to the back so that it could easily be hung on the red ribbon.

RAISED. An accident of our church - the cross is mounted high on the wall, so we had to make special provision to get the red ribbon up to it. Improvise if necessary.

RED RIBBON. The "red ribbon" is the focus of the service. At the end of the service, it runs all the way round the church, and links together many pictures and objects connected with God's creation.

Because of this, the service and notes include many references to specific parts of our church building and furniture. Rather little of this detail is of real significance. If you wish to use the service, you should adapt it freely to suit your own building. The important feature is that the completed ribbon should run right round the congregation, just as God's love encompasses the whole earth.

Some parts of the ribbon were installed before the service, and others were connected during the service; just what went where was determined to some extent by the geography of our church. You might find other arrangements suit your purpose and facilities better.

RIBBONLINKER. As the service proceeds, more and more objects are "added to" the Red Ribbon. The objects are brought to the ribbon by a series of helpers, who range from young children to adults, and vary widely in ability. To ensure that each object is properly "added to" the ribbon ( which means different things in different cases ) we appointed a single Ribbonlinker, who is generally responsible for things to do with the ribbon.

SIDE TABLE. A table to hold many of the items used during the service, which were typically collected from there and moved to somewhere else. There should be a responsible server at this table to make sure that the right things are given out to the right people in the right order.

STORY ABOUT A RED RIBBON. This is the sermon; unfortunately, no trace of it remains.

( WASHING ) LINE. The "( washing ) line" was a part of the red ribbon at the back of the church where there are doors and the access to the baptistry. These accessways require adult headroom; the red ribbon had to be at a height reachable by children. The washing line was this part of the ribbon, temporarily at a low level but later raised bodily ( as a washing line might be raised after the clothes have been pegged on ) to join the rest of the ribbon.

We dealt with all the washing line pictures and raised the washing line right at the beginning of the service to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.