Clergy Log In Church in Wales

Chalking the Door

with 'Holy Graffiti'

A church in Llandudno is inviting children to draw “holy graffiti” on its doors to welcome the new year.

St Paul’s in Craig y Don will be reviving the ancient custom of “chalking the door”, at a family Christingle service on Sunday 13 January at 4pm.

“Chalking the door” involves writing a series of numbers, letters and symbols on the door of the church to bring God’s blessing and good fortune for the year to follow.

Rev Noel Carter, rector of St Paul’s, explained: “Children at the family service will get to write 20 * C + M + B + 19 on the 125 year old doors of the church.

“The 20-19 is the year, the cross symbols stand for Jesus Christ and the CMB can either stand for ‘Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar’ – the names of the three wise men who visited Jesus – or for ‘Christus Mansionem Benedicat’, which is Latin for ‘may Christ bless this house’.

“You could call it holy graffiti, but it’s an ancient custom which has gone on around Europe for centuries, and we hope it can be a fun way for children to welcome in the new year.

“It could also be a bit of a talking point to people passing the church, if they ask why some children have been drawing on the doors in chalk, we can explain that there’s a very good and very ancient reason for it!”

The family service on Sunday 13 January will be themed around another old tradition: Christingle.  Children get an orange with a red ribbon around it, and a candle and four sticks loaded with sweets.

Rev Noel Carter added: “Each of the elements in the Christingle symbolises something, and forms a link between Christmas and Easter.  Find out more by joining us on Sunday afternoon.”