Winchester Christmas Market: The Real Christmas Chalet

Who are we?

The Real Christmas Chalet, formerly known as the Mission Chalet, is an opportunity to share the love of God with visitors to Winchester Christmas Market. The Chalet is organised by Churches Together Winchester by invitation from Winchester Cathedral. It was initiated several years ago by the Bishop of Winchester. Each year numerous Christians from Winchester and the surrounding area staff the Chalet over the period of the Christmas Market.

Stories from last year

The following anonymised entries from the Chalet log book give a flavour of what went on in 2018.

A man said “I came last year (from Wigan) and wrote out a prayer. I came later on the early part of the following year and visited Vineyard Church — and they read out my prayer! The one I had written! I was gobsmacked! Not only that, but my prayer was then answered when I got back to Wigan!”

Invited a young lady and man to write on a star. They were thoughtful and wrote on them. I asked if they had a faith of their own. He said ‘vaguely’. I offered a Luke’s Gospel saying it had the story of Christmas. Asked them to read it and ask God to reveal himself. They said they would.

Lots of good conversations and engagement with the nativity. Chatting about church and whether people go at Christmas. Good to engage with people!

Found a return train ticket. Prayed I would find the person whose ticket it was. Headed into the crowd and came face to face with a lady who had written a prayer star earlier – the ticket was hers!

Lots of conversations. It was really easy to chat to people. One young man, happy to write on a star.

On a wet, windy day 15-20 people wrote on stars. Most people took one look and saw we had nothing to sell then moved on. Others looked closer and asked how much it cost to have a star! Many friendly conversations.

How can I get involved?

Volunteers or potential volunteers, please read the following instructions carefully.

  • It’s best to plan to come to the training, otherwise you won’t necessarily understand this year’s theme.
  • Please read and abide by the Cathedral’s evangelism code.
  • Sign-up online later in the year – watch this space.
  • Read the stories from last year and be encouraged.
  • You can be yourself and trust God to help you.
  • Pray for many people to volunteer this year and for all the visitors they will encounter.
  • Check out the volunteer stats – the more churches are involved, the better.