Charlton and Bournemouth football chaplains team up for stadium events

The grounds of Charlton Athletic and AFC Bournemouth are more used to the sound of shouting and chanting but this Christmas they'll be filled with the festive sounds of Christmas.

It may not even be the end of summer yet, but plans are already afoot to hold carol concerts in the clubs' grounds this Christmas.

The concerts are being organised by Charlton's club chaplain and pastoral support director in English football for Sports Chaplaincy UK, Matt Baker, and AFC Bournemouth's Chaplain, Rev Andy Rimmer

Christian mission charity HOPE is supporting the concerts in partnership with Sports Chaplaincy UK in preparation for HOPE's nationwide year of mission in 2014.

Sports chaplains, community groups and local churches will be equipped to host their own Christmas carol services in sports grounds up and down the country.

The first services were piloted two years ago in Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Aldershot Town and Shrewsbury, and last year 15 clubs held carol services.

This year, more than 50 sports stadiums are expected to host the carol concerts for fans and other members of the community.

AFC Bournemouth's chaplain, the Reverend Andy Rimmer said: "I enjoy getting to know the lads and occasionally training with them.

"We have pre-match prayer which a few of them attend. Sport is a tremendous gift from God and it's where people are.

"The carol service is a chance to celebrate Jesus' birth in a completely unique environment. We want this event to have a real community feel as well as being attended by supporters of the clubs."

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