The Right Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, joined AFCB players and members of the local community for the Carols in the Community Service at the Vitality Stadium, Dean Court on Tuesday 8th December.
The annual carol concert is an opportunity for football staff and players to join club supporters and people from across Bournemouth to celebrate the Christmas season with a mixture of carols, readings and prayers.
Members of the community gave money towards a collection to support two local charities, the Bournemouth YMCA and the Salvation Army, raising over £1100. They also donated food items to the Bournemouth food bank. The food and money raised will go towards supporting local Bournemouth residents in need over the Christmas period.
This year, the club was joined by a number of performers at the service, including local Bournemouth group the ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ Choir, the Winton Salvation Army Band and a Schools Choir with members drawn from a number of local schools.
Bishop David Williams attended the service for the first time this year and preached on the hope which underpins the message of Christmas, contrasting it with the despair which can be experienced by people around the world.
After the service, Bishop David said:
“On 2nd May 2015, Bournemouth Football club won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 135 years of football. The joys and challenges of the last few weeks were eclipsed by the elation felt last Saturday, 5th December as they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. I was delighted to be asked to reflect on the message of Christmas at the Community Carol Concert on 8th December. Alongside the very best news of 2015, we live in a world where many are close to despair, illustrated for me by the mass movement of refugees across Europe over the last few weeks.
“The message of Christmas is focused on great promise – “Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it”. In the person of Jesus we are invited to experience him afresh this Christmas.”