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Cows and sheep join crib service in a farm barn 

More than 100 people gathered with special breeds of cows and sheep at Church Farm Barn, South Elmham, to take part in a rather special crib service on December 17.

Lightwave Bungay and Beyond partnered with the Saint’s Benefice in Suffolk to put on a truly authentic Crib Service inside the farm barn.


Lightwave is a network of small groups and fresh expressions of church that seek to share the Christian faith in new and creative ways, working alongside traditional forms of church.


Former Norwich curate Rev Edward Land had the idea of retelling the most amazing event on earth in a truly authentic location. “We wanted to create an event that would capture the sights, sounds, smells and feel of the humble circumstances into which Jesus was born.”


Edward shared the idea with Rev Leon Collyer, Rector of The Saint’s Benefice and one of the church wardens, Gail Sprake, was up for hosting the event at her farm.


Over 100 people attended the event on a cold and frosty December afternoon. Children, dressed as their favourite nativity characters, helped to re-create the Christmas story, joining in with the Innkeeper’s script and creating a tableau under an enormous star mounted on the barn wall, as the light fell in the atmospheric setting.


After the event Gail said: “We thought it was an amazing event which brought the Christmas message home by making it real. We too stood in the straw, with cattle lowing and sheep bleating around us, on a chilly day as darkness fell, I think everybody felt able to understand a little better what the Christmas story is all about.”


The livestock seemed quite unfazed at sharing their ‘home’ with visitors and the joyful singing, led by Heather Land (Lightwave Community Choir Director) and a band. After the service everyone warmed up with mulled wine and mince pies.


Overall, the event was a great success and the plan is to repeat it again next year. If you would like to find out more about Lightwave get in touch with Rev Edward Land at: [email protected] or see facebook or instagram at Lightwavebungayandbeyond.


Pictured above is the Lightwave Bungay and Beyond and Saint’s Benefice crib service at Church Farm Barn, South Elmham.



Keith Morris, 30/12/2022

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