Town comes together to create digital Advent calendar
From florists and bakers to a concert pianist and university professor, a whole community has come together in music and prayer to create a digital Advent calendar which is capturing world-wide attention.
More than 90 people from across Conwy are contributing to the Advent calendar with daily videos of carols, reflections and prayers for different sectors of the community. The films also include footage of local scenes.
Carolau Conwy Carols has been organised by church members in the Bro Celynnin Ministry Area that covers Conwy town and part of Conwy Valley. Pioneer priest, the Revd Eryl Parry, says it is proving very popular more than 5,000 views on YouTube so far.
“The number of viewings has surpassed all expectations,” she says. “The messages of encouragement and reflection have started pouring in from all over the world via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, our website and e-mail.”
Helping Eryl recruit people to take part was Chris Roberts, musical director at St Mary’s Conwy. He approached singers and musicians to perform carols. Professional videographer, Mark McNulty, generously offered his services to film and edit each video.
“Doing the recordings in workplaces, schools, homes and church buildings was a profoundly moving experience as it soon became clear how much thought and preparation each person was putting into this,” says Eryl.
There’s a freshness and huge diversity of approach to each carol when placed in the hands of those who wouldn’t normally sing or play in church.
"Those who would, are also given freedom of self-expression. It’s impossible for the viewer to tell which of our participants would normally be in church on a Sunday and which wouldn’t. God has worked through everyone, and is touching people’s lives: participant and receiver.”
The prayers that follow each carol are read by someone connected to the sector they are praying for. Contributors include nurses, a GP, a farmer, an artist, a carer, guest-house owners, a biomedical scientist, a headteacher, children, students, local business owners and charity representatives. The final prayer, on Christmas Eve, will be ready by Eryl’s husband, David, the vicar of Conwy.
“Although the prayers were scripted, many people have adapted them to a greater or lesser extent to make them their own,” says Eryl. “We are learning about the power of simple invitation to co-create, and that engaging in that creative process leads to a different quality of conversation. New and deeper, trusting relationships begin.
"We hope that, just like the best Advent calendars, there will be a sense of anticipation and surprise each day. The story then starts to build through three strong narratives: community, yes - impacted by coronavirus, but - celebrating creatively Christ’s incarnation which brings such hope and joy to the world.
“We are indebted to all who have taken part from so many walks of life and all who are now sharing the love. It has been a huge task, but so incredibly worth it.”
Follow the Carolau Conwy Carols Advent Calendar at: