The Bishop of Stockport says he's hoping for a traditional Christmas carol to top the charts this year.
Rt Rev Sam Corley says that with LadBaby out of the running this year, who’s to say that a traditional carol couldn’t be Christmas number one?
He was speaking as the Church of England has just released a Christmas single as part of a campaign encouraging people to come to church, sing carols and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.
The song is a new version of the The First Nowell, written by renowned composer and former King’s Singer, Bob Chilcott. It is performed by St Martin’s Voices, with organ and brass quintet.
The Church of England says it will be performed by choirs up and down the country, as part of carol services and concerts for Christmas and Advent and sheet music is freely available.
More than 3000 people have signed up to sing the carol so far, with performances planned at Cathedrals including Chichester, Lincoln and Winchester. In addition a live performance will be broadcast on BBC1 and iPlayer at Midnight on Christmas Eve from Portsmouth Cathedral, featuring musicians from the Royal Marines.
At the heart of the campaign is the simple message inviting everyone to attend a service near them – with thousands of local services listed on A Church Near You, which allows users to locate services in their area, with tags to help users find carols, mince pies, children’s services and more.
Bishop Corley said:
“Singing carols is one of those traditions that helps us all get in the mood for Christmas and to think again about how our story connects with the story of God’s longing to be with us.
"With familiar words set to a new tune, we hope people will enjoy joining in with the angels to sing a song of celebration as we encounter afresh the Good News of the birth of Jesus Christ.
“So whether you are a regular or haven’t been for some time you are invited to come along to your local church, wherever you live, this Christmas.”
“And with LadBaby out of the running this year, who’s to say that a traditional carol couldn’t be Christmas number one?”
Proceeds from the single will be donated to the St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity, a UK-wide homelessness charity.
It is the second time the Church has released such a Christmas single, with a previous carol composed by Rebecca Dale topping the Classical Charts during December 2021.
LadBaby who have consistently topped the charts around Christmas with sausage-roll themed tracks, this week said they wouldn't be competing in the race to Number One.
You can watch the Church of England's new Christmas carol here :The First Nowell - Bob Chilcott - YouTube