No room at the cafe for Jesus

Rev Martin Whiffen
Rev Martin Whiffen

A church has issued a desperate plea for help to save its Christmas nativity scene.

In a new twist on the Christmas story, Chorley United Reformed Church, Hollinshead Street, has found no room to host its nativity this year.

Last year, the scene occupied one of the large shop front windows of the newly-opened Café Havana in the former town centre Burton’s menswear store on Cleveland Street.

But the increasing success of the cafe has meant it now can’t find the space.

Rev Martin Whiffen, minister of Chorley United Reformed Church, which was founded in 1792 and is now one of the largest United Reformed Churches in the North West, said: “Café Havana have been a terrific support to the church over the last twelve months and we are over the moon that the business is now so successful.

“Unfortunately their very success means they cannot spare the space for the nativity.”

He added: “We have searched in vain for a venue – even Chorley Borough Council have drawn a blank.

“Two thousand years on from his birth, it seems there is still nowhere for Jesus.”

The cafe has also supported the church’s ‘Open Kitchen’, which provides a free meal to anyone in need, acting as a drop-off point for non-perishable food.

The traditional nativity scene is about 2m tall by 4m wide and about 1m deep.

The church uses it to advertise its Christmas services – in particular its Carols by Candlelight on the Sunday before Christmas and its Family Christingle Service at

4pm on Christmas Eve.

Rev Whiffen said: “Should a local business, school, shop, surgery or other group be willing to host us, we would love to hear from them.”

He can be contacted on 01257 273222 or emailed at martinwhiffen@btinternet.com