Fr Bill Braviner (Picture: Church of England)

St Peter’s Church in Stockton is taking centre stage this Christmas in the Church of England’s #FollowTheStar campaign.

Following the community of St Peter’s Church in Stockton-on-Tees as they prepare for Christmas, our 2019 Christmas advert includes a new arrangement of We Three Kings, performed by Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, based at St James’s Church Piccadilly.

With dragons, talking carrots, and even a surprise comeback for ET all vying for centre stage in the annual festive advertising bonanza, the Church of England is putting real-life stars at the heart of its campaign to invite more people to church this Christmas.

The video and digital campaign for 2019 (#FollowTheStar) which launches today tells the story of Christmas preparations at St Peter’s Church, Stockton-on-Tees – a church with a special ministry. The advert is backed by singers from a London Gospel Choir, with this year’s Christmas Single, a new arrangement of the favourite carol We Three Kings.
Featuring in the advert are refugees and asylum seekers who attend St Peter’s, together with Stockton residents of all ages.

The Rev Bill Braviner of St Peter’s Stockton said: “Jesus was a refugee, and the themes of displacement and journeying are at the heart of the Christmas story.”

“Nowadays journeys are not made by donkey or camel but as in the time of Jesus, they can be perilous – especially for those fleeing oppression and war.

“The star on our church shows Jesus as the destination for all who travel to Christmas, from near and far, wherever they are in the world, and the best bit is that the story doesn’t end after the Christmas lights have come down.”

Michael, a Christian from Iran who speaks in Farsi (Persian) in the advert said:

“In Iran, it is not always easy to be a Christian, but Jesus helped me, and I want to follow him at Christmas and all year round.”

“I have found peace at this church and have been embraced by the congregation. Christmas can be a time of new life and hope for all who have had sadness and turmoil in their life.”

For full details on the campaign click here