A Salford church is getting into the festive spirit and raising money and awareness for homelessness.

This Sunday December 12, Sacred Trinity Church will be holding its annual Beer and Carols event, raising money for the Booth Centre.

Rector Andy Salmon, who has been at Sacred Trinity Church since 2004, said: “Beer and Carols is just a lot of fun.”

“Most of the time we just put the words up, the piano starts, and people have a lot of fun singing.”

A makeshift screen is set to be put up at the front of the church, and the community choir – The Flat Iron Choir – will be there to lead the songs.

The event incorporates a mixture of traditional carols with more well-known chart hits. A more traditional Carol concert is held the following week.

Mr Salmon said: “We will sing Away in a Manger and We Three Kings of Orient Are, but we will also sing things like I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday or Fairytale of New York.”

Those taking part can also expect to join in with the likes of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, before finishing the night with the Twelve Days of Christmas, with different groups singing different lines of the song.

“It’s very chaotic! But a lot of fun,” he said.

Although he tends to refrain from preaching from the pulpit in favour of being on the same level as the congregation, he uses it for  Beer and Carols to encourage singers and build excitement.

Pulpit at Sacred Trinity Church. Image Credit: Kathryn Austin

Discussing the notion that a church may be a unsual place to see an event with such a warning, he said: “I have mixed feelings. We actually have an Alcoholic’s Anonymous group who meet here, and any of them will tell you about the problems that alcohol causes, and clearly alcohol does cause a great many problems.

“But also, most people are able to enjoy alcohol in a more restrained way and it’s part of our social fabric, isn’t it.

“It always been part of life and part of the church, you know – we serve wine on a Sunday, it’s part of the service.

“A lot of beer in the past was produced by monks wasn’t it, so it’s all part of life.”

He continued: “We do just need to be careful, we need to make sure that we offer people an alternative as well.”

“A lot of people won’t come to the Christmas services, but they’ll come to Beer and Carols.

“For us as a Church, we want people to connect a little bit with the Christmas story – and essentially the Christmas story is about God being with us in our ordinary lives.

“If people catch some little glimpse of that, in that community of gathering with other people, singing out some Christmas songs – daft ones and serious ones – if people catch some kind of glimpse of God being present with them, then that’s an added bonus.”

The event is free but the Booth Centre will benefit from the sale of beer, mulled wine, and non-alcoholic alternatives.

“The Booth Centre are doing fantastic work with homeless people all year round, but there’s obviously more challenges at this time of year when it’s colder and wetter,” he said.

The number of people who died while homeless in 2020 was approximately 23.3 per million in the North West, higher than the England average of 16 per million, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Manchester-based charity the Booth Centre is a community centre run in partnership with people affected by homelessness.It offers a range of activities, as well as providing training and helping to gain employment. It also helps to improve health and wellbeing, help people access emergency accommodation and secure a permanent home.

It worked with more than 1,880 people between April 2020 and March 2021, helping 435 people move into a new home and 64 gain employment, according to its annual report,

Sacred Trinity Church also acts as a venue for gigs to boost its fundraising for many different charities.

The Beer and Carols event has been taking place for around 10 years, although it was unable to take place last Christmas due to the Covid pandemic and the rules advising against singing.

“Coming along to church at Christmas and not being able to sing really is bonkers, ” said Mr Salmon.

“We all have to be careful, but I think now that most people are vaccinated…it feels like we can relax a bit more.”

This year, the Church is hoping for quite a normal Christmas in comparison to last.

Sacred Trinity Church is located on Chapel Street, Salford. Image taken by Kathryn Austin

Participants are asked to do a lateral flow test before they attend the event, and ideally be vaccinated.

“Hopefully we’ll still have a really good event, people need stuff like this,” he said.

Unlike Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, due to the event’s “boozy” nature, Beer and Carols is not really an event for children.


Image taken by Kathryn Austin


He concluded: “I remember early on in the lockdown, people saying ‘we mustn’t lose sight of this, you know, we’re supporting vulnerable people and we must keep doing that’.

“To some extent, we have got back to getting on with our lives…actually the world is a better place when we do care for people, and we care for those who are less well off than us.

“So, supporting people like the Booth Centre is very important for us.”

Tickets for Beer and Carols are still available here.

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