Tree festival – our way

Author: The Revd Carol Pritchard

Published on: 17 August 2021

Some churches have a large Christmas tree that dominates the nave, others have tree festivals with magnificent displays filling large spaces and competitions for the best.

St Anne’s Earlham can give you a different version of a tree festival that is mini and still involves the community, it can make you smile and it certainly helps us to celebrate the festival.

Two Christmases ago, I visited the rank of shops across the road from church, chatted to the shopkeepers and got to know them a bit. I asked them if they would be willing to decorate a 40cm high tree for a windowsill in the church and I would provide a poster displaying the name and a photo of their business. It was one of those ideas that popped into my head and it actually worked well; in fact, we have done it for two years now and I think it is here to stay.

What made us smile was the fun that some of the shop workers had obviously had: LED lights inside empty pill bottles from the pharmacy, colourful capsules used as decorations from the vape shop and biscuits from the Co-op strung together across the tree. Also helping us to celebrate were the ones more traditionally decorated with flashing lights and colour schemes and the ones without any scheme at all, just a cheerful dash of colours here and there. The congregation enjoyed them and visitors to the church were intrigued, including some of the very shopkeepers who had contributed so wonderfully. Some of them had never noticed St Anne’s before, even though it is just across the road (albeit a very busy one).

The short-term result was the involvement of local business people in the life of the church and the long-term results are immeasurable, in both senses. People were prayed for, chats were had, relationships were started – one shop and its employees are getting involved in the garden around the church; partly to contribute to the community and partly for their own wellbeing.

One of the trees and their poster can be seen in the photograph and the common sense of purpose is indicated: ‘Serving the community of Earlham together’.

The author...

The Revd Carol Pritchard

Licensed clergy - Assistant Priest (NSM (Non-Stipendiary Minister)), Earlham (Benefice)

This article is from...

Articles in this issue...

Free online funding for you

The Diocese of Norwich is excited to announce that we have subscribed to an online database of hundreds of funding sources specifically for churches and other Christian causes provided by Church Grants.


Culture recovery fund saves Tunstall

I am pleased to say that our church, St Peter and St Paul, Tunstall, Norfolk, has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to fund roof repairs during the coronavirus pandemic


Covering all bases

Many parishes now have their unique giving QR codes and URLs as well as the physical resources such as business cards and posters to promote the diocesan online facility.


Barn in village saves fair

The Friends of All Saints Bawdeswell was established some 18 years ago to raise funds for the general upkeep and enhancement of All Saints.


Five top tips for contactless giving

Five top tips for contactless giving


Learn to listen

It has been said that the Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members, and not a mutual benefit society organised by its own members for their own collective advantage*.


Anna Chaplaincy emerging across the Diocese of Norwich

Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) is quoted as saying – “mission is seeing what God is doing and joining in”.


A cha(lle)nging perspective on Church

The recent “Faith in the Nexus” report is a piece of research by NICER examining the intersection of children’s exploration of faith in the home in relation to church and school.



A well-considered scheme is needed for any new tree planting. In choosing species, consideration should be given to their mature height, span and root growth.


Plant a tree for the Jubilee!

Faith Leaders from across the UK, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, are urging faith communities to plant trees in honour of Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the nation, through The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.


Keep up to date

Subscribe to our eNews for a snapshot of news, events and resources, usually emailed once a fortnight

Signup to newsletter