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Lockdown crib set at St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich

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Over 20 figures were made during the November lockdown, using materials from the recycling or rubbish bins and in a variety of colours. As part of their design the figures feature newspaper headlines from this year, so as to help tell the story of 2020 as part of the church’s Christmas celebrations.

Normally the church hosts a Christmas Tree Festival and over 20 carol services and concerts each December, but nearly everything has been cancelled this year because of the pandemic. Instead, members of the groups involved were asked if they’d like to make a figure for the new crib set.

Those who have taken part include local schools and charities, as well as members of the congregation. The church children made most of the stars, which are hung above the crib scene.

In previous years there has been a tree at the church where visitors can hang ‘prayer tags’ with names of people they want to remember or pray for. However, this year they are being invited to write a name or prayer on a ‘swaddling band’ strip of cloth and place it at the manger.

Speaking about the project, Canon Edward Carter, the Vicar at St Peter Mancroft, said: “People have been amazingly creative, and I love the way all the figures are made from recycled materials. Visitors to the church are saying it’s helping them see Christmas in a new way, after such a challenging year.”

St Peter Mancroft is open to visitors 11am to 3pm Monday to Saturday, and for services on Sunday. Entry is free.