Lovely Christingle with Bath Mencap
A Christmas service designed specially for people with learning disabilities, was described by a Bath vicar as one of his favourites of the year, coming second only to the celebrations on Christmas Day. The service, organised by Mencap and St Michael's Church at Broad Street, saw lots of people making Christingles which are oranges decorated with a red ribbon, sweets and a candle. Vicar Roger Driver explained the symbolism of these. The orange represents the world. The ribbon represents God's love wrapped around the world and the blood Christ shed on the cross. The sweets fixed to cocktail sticks represent the four seasons. And the lit candle is a reminder of the light of Jesus that never goes out. After this explanation came a prayer for the world. Mencap has merged with Junior Gateway in a great step forward which means that now nobody is too old for the group, so members can be retained. Caroline White of Bath Mencap spoke on how, when children with learning disabilities leave school or leave their families, their social life and access to many things such as sports often drop off sharply. The important work of Mencap helps to turn these situations around. Two young members of Mencap gave readings from the accounts of the birth of Jesus told in the gospels. A signer communicated the things said using sign language for those with hearing difficulties. Carols were sung to beautiful piano music and there was a serene moment when all the Christingles were lit in the church.