Leeds Sanctuary ended 2023 with a cracking Christmas campaign which reached over 500 people in-person and received over 800 views online.
Inspired by the “Out of the Ordinary” concept shared by The Methodist Church Connexional Team, we decided to highlight what we find Out of the Ordinary in Leeds, and celebrate what’s Out of the Ordinary about our city’s local people. This involved two special Christmas events, a digital campaign and handing out gift envelopes to people in our communities and those who live at Leeds Dock.
20 people attended Curry & Carols at Mumtaz on Leeds Dock, enjoying a quality curry with carols played in the background by Paul Coleman. A few days later, we were joined by the University of Leeds Wind and Concerts Bands who played carols for us outside Fearns, a popular restaurant and co-working space at the Dock. Over 30 people stood in the cold to enjoy the music, but thanks to the acoustics at the Dock, no doubt many more people enjoyed it from their apartments!
Revd David Goodall said “”Curry and Carols” and “Carols in the Community” were both great evenings. They allowed people to come and celebrate Christmas with others from across Leeds. In these moments people were able to glimpse the extraordinary in each other and to celebrate the extraordinary gift of Jesus. In a season which can be filled with busy-ness our events and campaign helped people to pause for a moment and remember the story of Jesus, which is at the heart of Christmas.”
In planning our digital campaign, we asked our team and people in our networks and communities, “Where do you find something Out of the Ordinary in Leeds?” Thanks to the responses we had, we were able to share audio reflections, blogs and a meditation on our website and social media twice a week across the three weeks running up to Christmas.
In sharing these contributions, our aim was for our audience to see how much we love our city and value the people here, and each post was also an opportunity to invite people to our Christmas events. The posts were viewed more than 800 times across Facebook and Instagram – hundreds of seeds sewn!
Finally, we also shared 500 gift envelopes with people in our communities, networks and living locally to us at Leeds Dock.
Each envelope had a scratch off patch which revealed the words “You are extraordinary” underneath, and included a flyer as an invitation to our Christmas events, a tealight, a small bar of Divine chocolate, a postcard and an affirmation. The postcard was written to encourage people to consider what was extraordinary about their year and themselves, and the affirmation was written as a reminder for 2024 that they are loved.
“People living and working in our cities are always absorbing information, whether in passing or on purpose, and our minds are fuller and busier than ever before,” explained Emily Smith, Communications and Digital Lead. “We envision a city of flourishing people, and we know that one of the steps towards that is reflection. Our digital campaign and gift envelopes were designed to be flags raised encouraging people to pause, even if just for a moment, and reflect on themselves, their city and their year. We believe God sees the extraordinary in all of us, but few of us see it without really making the time.”