A new pop-up village with a dedicated Christian presence has recently opened in Guildford town centre, offering shoppers Christmas delights throughout Advent.
The Guildford Pop-Up Village is a temporary shopping centre between Woodbridge Road and Commercial Road, near the bus station, and features 20 retail units created from shipping containers. Until 24 December the village will include ‘Christmas Joy’, a shop staffed by volunteers from local churches, selling seasonal Christian gifts and offering a free Christmas present wrapping service.
The official opening of the village last week featured performances by the children’s Allstar Choir, who sang some crowd pleasing seasonal favourites, before Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Gordon Jackson, cut the red ribbon. The Wey Community Gospel Choir then performed a number of spiritual classics while attendees browsed the new shopping centre.
Revd Sarah Hutton, diocesan spiritual development adviser and volunteer at Christmas Joy, said: “The opening was a wonderful event with the sounds of choirs filling the otherwise chilly night sky. There was a great buzz in the air as people came to investigate the village which had literally popped up in Guildford.
“It’s wonderful to have such a strong Christian presence in the new shopping area and I’m really looking forward to seeing the impact we can have.”
The village is planned to be in residence on the site for two years. It gives opportunities for local businesses to secure a premises in the town, by offering affordable and flexible leases.