Minister calls for 'doorstep carolling'

A Church of Scotland minister is encouraging people to take part in a nationwide Christmas Carol concert on their doorsteps - after the Scottish Government warned that traditional door-to-door carolling is likely to be outlawed under lockdown rules.

Rev Mike Goss said traditional door to door caroling was clearly not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions but filling the streets with the joyful sound of classics like ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, Away in a Manger and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ will send out a strong message that Christmas is “not cancelled”.

He is appealing to individuals and families across the country to gather in front of their homes for “Doorstep Carols”. He has put together a hymn sheet of five well-known carols which he says will last fifteen minutes.

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Last week, the Scottish Government’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch warned Scots against carol singing this Christmas, saying that door-to-door singers would worry him due to the risk of covid-19 being spread by droplets expelled when singing.

He said that while the government hadn’t yet taken a position on outdoor carol singing and admitted it would be less risky than singing indoors, it would have the “same challenges” as Halloween, when children were banned from guising.

He said at a briefing: “So my instant advice. If you'll forgive me for doing it, is that, probably not.”

Mr Goss, the minister of Barry Parish Church, which is linked with Carnoustie Church in Angus, said: “People are understandably feeling gloomy because the impact of restrictions will almost certainly mean that Christmas will look different this year.

“But the true meaning is still the same and I hope that family groups and people in bubbles coming out onto their doorsteps, ensuring they are standing two metres away from their neighbours, will provide a sense of joy, peace and comfort.”

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Read more: Coronavirus in Scotland: Jason Leitch warns against carol singing

Mr Goss said people can download the words to the five carols from his church websites ahead of the event on 20 December.

Members of Kirk congregations across Angus have indicated that they will take part in what could become the largest Christmas Carol concert ever held in Scotland.

Mr Goss said he hoped that members and adherents of other denominations, organisations like the Boys and Girls Brigade and those who are not regular church goers would take part.

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“It is fair to say that a lot of people feel that they have lost their singing voices this year because we have been unable to sing in church since March and many choirs are finding putting on online events challenging,” he added.

“Doorstep Carols is an opportunity for people to come together in small numbers in a socially distanced and responsible way as part of a wider community across Scotland and celebrate this special time of year.”

The minister is encouraging churches to consider recording short videos of their members doorstep carolling and post them on social media.

The event is due to take place at 6pm on 20 December.

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