On Sunday 16th November 2018, Church @ The Green held its first ever Reverse Advent celebration.
Reverse Advent Calendars are based on the idea of donating something every day, rather than opening a door on a traditional advent calendar. Although Advent runs all the way up to Christmas, Reverse Advent finishes earlier in the run-up to Christmas to enable the donations to be distributed in time for the big event. Participants in Arborfield Green were encouraged to set aside one item each day from 1st to 16th December, and bring their boxes to the Community Centre on Sunday afternoon. These goods were then delivered by the Arborfield Green Communities Team, working on behalf of Crest Nicholson, to Wokingham Food Bank and Christian Community Action in Reading on Monday morning.
Boxes began to pile up by 4pm on Sunday as generous residents brought festive supplies like mince pies along with essentials such as toiletries, dried goods, cans of soup and duvets to give to those less fortunate.
Benefactors were welcomed to stay for a short carol service after donating and were treated to mince pies and mulled wine. With four crafts tables to keep children entertained, the hall was packed as Minister Piers Bickersteth led the group in traditional carols, games for children, and spoke on the importance of giving and feeling grateful in the festive season.
Minister Piers Bickersteth was inspired to take part after a discussion about community initiatives elsewhere with the Arborfield Green Communities Team. Church @ The Green was established in 2016 and is based at Arborfield Green Community Centre, combining the existing Churches of Arborfield and Barkham Family of Churches.
“Arborfield Green Community Centre was buzzing on Sunday afternoon as people brought generous donations to the carol service. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with the community and welcome some new faces to Church @ The Green. We meet at the Community Centre every Sunday at 4pm and on 23rd December there will be a Christingle service to which all are welcome.”
Sammie Bryans, Development Director for Crest Nicholson said:
“We are very proud to have this fantastic event held at our Community Centre and to have a part to play in Reverse Advent at Arborfield Green. Church @ The Green do a great job of incorporating new residents into the local community, and this event presented an opportunity for the whole community to come together and help those less fortunate this Christmas.”