Two churches in Beverley have got together to create giant advent calendars, one at each end of the town.
The idea comes from Beverley Minster's National Lottery Heritage Fund Sanctuary Project which explores the Minster as a place of medieval sanctuary. The £700,000 project restores the Minster's Lesser South Transept roof and stonework and tells the story of its fascinating medieval role in Sanctuary. The Minster recently also successfully secured a further grant of £600,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund to do further repairs to the Nave roof.
When the hoarding went up for the new project and the government announced the second lock down, Ali Bodley, Learning and Community Engagement Officer for the Sanctuary Project, had an idea.
"Mary and Joseph are two of the best-known sanctuary seekers and we wanted to mark that. The new building work meant there is hoarding outside the church, while COVID 19 has made it hard to use the church. A giant advent calendar on the hoarding seemed like a really nice way to celebrate sanctuary at Christmas with our local community," said Ali.
Ali made an appeal for groups to paint an advent window on social media.
"We were overwhelmed by the response. Overnight we had enough groups for two nativity calendars. So, I called my colleague Jennie at St Mary's to see if they wanted to get involved as I knew they also had empty hoarding."
Like Beverley Minster, the church has been very successful with funding. St Mary's Church is also in receipt of National Lottery Heritage Funding. The Curious Carvings Project focuses on the over stunning 600 medieval and Tudor carvings in the church. They can be found in the ceiling throughout the building and are known as roof bosses. St Mary's had also been awarded £139,280 to restore the south nave clerestory from the Culture Recovery Fund. Grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund were secured for both projects by Two Churches One Town Project.
"We are delighted to be able to join forces with Beverley Minster", said Jennie England, Heritage Learning Officer for the Curious Carvings Project. "It's an amazing opportunity to reach out to our local communities with the Minster. Our bosses include many advent themes such as kings and angels, and lots of different animals, which we hope will inspire people when they're designing their advent calendar boards. Images of St Mary's roof bosses can be found on the church's website and social media pages."
Schools, nurseries, retirement homes, home educating groups, family bubbles and individuals are all taking part. They have all been sent boards 120 x 80cm. A new board will be put up at each site every day. Details will be posted on social media and shared with local radio. The completed Advent Calendars will remain up over the Christmas period until 6th January.
Along with the Giant Advent Calendar, the Minster will be adding festive creations to the yarn bombing already on the railings and in the trees from a project earlier in the year.
"We had excellent feed-back from the public. It had really cheered people up in these difficult times. It was only supposed to be up for a week, but it was so successful we extended it. We have decided to build on this and create a festive themed yarn bombing to complement the calendar" said Ali. "Hopefully the churchyard will be a blaze of colour."
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