A chance discovery by a parishioner of Mary and Joseph statues in an auction is helping to draw famlies together in the run up to Christmas.
The three-feet high statues were donated to the church of St Peter's - and initially, vicar Kirsten Rosslyn-Smith, admitted she was perplexed as to what to do with them.
â€œThey were a feature in the hallway of the vicarage for some time while we thought of the best way of making use of them,â€ she said. â€œAnd then we decided to send Mary and Joseph on a tour of the parish throughout December, simulating the journey to Bethlehem and ask each family hosting the pair to take a photo of them in their home and upload it to the Advent calendar on the new parish website (www.stpetersguildford.org)."
â€œWe have purposely selected a mix of people from the three main areas of our parish, which covers Bellfield, Slyfield and Jacobs Well, to host Mary and Joseph each night,â€ she says. â€œThe aim is to engage a broad range of people in the local community with the Christmas story, but in a light-hearted way. Each family will receive a prayer of blessing and there will be a chocolate reward in wait for when they came to the Crib Service on Christmas Eve.
"Given that the Bishop of Guildford lives in our parish we thought it would bea great place for Mary and Joseph to start!".