Ha’way in a Manger brings festive cheer to Sunderland

Entertaining the crowds. Photos by Jonathan Shaw

Entertaining the crowds. Photos by Jonathan Shaw

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Not even the wet weather could dampen the festive spirit of city churches.

Though the weekend’s Ha’way in a Manger event had to be moved indoors when Wearside was hit by snow, participants still managed to show Sunderland the true meaning of Christmas.

Ha'way in a Manger

Ha'way in a Manger

Children from Northern Saints Primary School led a flash mob of carol singers in The Bridges, with dozens of shoppers stopping to join in.

They then performed a lively version of the Nativity as part of the community event staged by Sunderland Connect Network, which is comprised of the city’s Christian churches.

The action was supposed to move to Keel Square for an outdoor performance and candle procession, but had to be cut short due to the weather.

Deb Fozzard, director of Sunderland Connect Network, said: “All the Christian churches in Sunderland have come together to come up with different ways of working together to have an impact for good in the city.

Carol singers

Carol singers

“It’s a positive expression of what we believe at Christmas. The children have been brilliant and people have been stopping and joining in. We’ve also been giving out 500 star decorations made by Fab Lab, which highlight the different carol services taking place in the city. This is our gift to Sunderland.

“We’ve had to keep the event indoors because of the weather, but it’s still been very positive.”

Deb says it’s important to remember the reason for the season.

“It’s important to press pause on life, gather our thoughts and reflect on what the season is all about,” she said.

Nativity scenes

Nativity scenes

She added: “We’re looking to make this an annual event, we won’t let the weather put us off. We’ve already had more schools ask if they can become involved next year after seeing the children today.”

Helen Stephenson, of the Sunderland and Boldon United Reformed Partnership, said: “It’s great that we’re all working together in helping to celebrate Christmas in the city, and that the celebrations are right at the heart of the city.”

More from the nativity

More from the nativity