As an ardent believer in recycling (oops, nearly forgot, it's brown box night tonight in Yeovil. Not that ardent then.....) here's an extract from 'Biscuit Tin', a 3x-a-year- thingy I produce for local churches, with ideas and thoughts on mission. As Advent draws near, it seemed a good time to post it:
Ideas for Christmas outreach
- Christmas services in secular venues: e.g. Christingle in a garden centre (Brimsmore hosted one last year), or a supermarket foyer/café coupled with a till collection. Darlington ASDA let us do a Christingle on Christmas Eve – it drew nearly 200 people and raised hundreds of £ for charity, as well as being a great community event.
- Carol singing – house to house, in local pubs or local gathering places.
- Blue Christmas: a Christmas service for people who don’t like Christmas, either due to bereavement or for other reasons. There are resources for this at http://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/blue.shtml .
- Posada (where figures of Mary and Joseph journey from house to house during Advent). A set of resources have been developed by the Church Army: see www.churcharmy.org.uk/posada
- Giant Advent Calendar: an idea pioneered by churches in Warwick (http://www.advent2005.co.uk/), having Advent windows opening at various places in the community, along with various workshops (wreath making, Christingle making) run by the churches. Would work especially well in a town centre, or in a compact village community.
- St Nicholas Day Biscuits A Dutch tradition of making biscuits on St. Nicholas Day (5th December) and taking them round to the neighbours. Great way to get to know people in your neighbourhood, something pretty much anyone in the congregation can do.
Having tried a couple of experiments last year - a Christingle in the garden centre and a Christmas service for kids at the local nursery - both have invited us back to do it again this year, which is nice. The Biscuits idea worked a treat in our road, as many folk had not long moved in, and if you've got children then it's a great family activity.