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CofE Christmas single.png
World News

Church of England makes bid for Christmas No.1

by Heather Preston

The Church of England is set to release its first ever Christmas single, to highlight the true meaning of the festive season.

A new carol version of 'In the Bleak Midwinter' is due to be released on 1st December as part of the Anglican Church's #AtTheHeartOfChristmas campaign. 

The Carol, by young composer, Rebecca Dale is hoped to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas and help churches connect with their local communities in celebration.

In the Bleak Midwinter was originally written by English poet Christina Rossetti in the 1870's and describes the wintery journey to a stable for the momentous birth of Jesus Christ.

Speaking about the track, Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, expressed his delight at sharing the good news of the nativity story: "At Christmas, God becomes human. His heart beats. As a frail child in a cold manger, he takes his first breaths on this earth. We often dress this time of year up, adding all the trimmings. 

"These things are wonderful, but they are not the heart of Christmas. The only thing that makes Christmas perfect is Jesus, who sees, loves and welcomes all. The message of this carol is that the only thing we need to give him and each other is our hearts - our very own selves.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Archbishop Justin mentioned the importance of our friends and families at this time of year, over monetary gifts.

"'The presents don't last that long, but the people last a lifetime, so focus on the people."

"To spend time is worth a thousand times the spending money."

Dale, who has been hailed "a household name in years to come" reached number one in the iTunes Classical Single Charts in 2015 for her debut self-release, I'll Sing and was Classic FM's Choral Classic of the Week.

The budding composer says she was excited to write the new carol version of such a "timeless and evocative" poem.

"I have long wanted to set this text, and so when the Church of England asked me to be involved in this project, this was my very first thought. I hope people will enjoy the setting and that it helps connect them with the amazing story which is at the heart of Christmas."

The Carol has been recorded by St Martin's Voices, in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

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