Suzybower's Blog

Creative ideas for church and youth ministry.

Archive for Christmas/Advent

Christmas service in a stable

It’s that time of year again…

Time to dig out last year’s fairy lights (what they take away in authenticity, they more than make up for in aesthetics),

Dress up in excessive layers of clothing,

And last but not least heat up the hot spiced apple, and mince pies,

then trek over to a nearby farm for an advent service in a stable.

 

The service plan was pretty similar to last years but with more carols (and more people!) added this time. Check it out here.

Many thanks go the horses who made the whole thing possible by being willing to sacrifice their stable for the evening. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Advertisements

A pregnant pause (advent poem)

A poem we read out as part of our advent service

A pregnant pause

we are tempted to think

that this is out of character for you

a momentary fragility [showing your tender side]

that once the christmas carols are finished

and the decorations are put away,

you’ll get back to power and might.

but in your completeness -
this one chance we get to see flesh and bone

put onto the theory -
this is you:

fragile,

impossibly vulnerable

and at the mercy of human response?

so, god, are you holding your breath too

in this pregnant moment….

waiting to see if we will answer

yes

to the fragile question of divine love?

[Adapted from hold :: this space]

You’re welcome (opening liturgy)

I adapted this liturgy and used it for the beginning of our advent service in a stable (a pregnant pause). But it can easily be adapted for any other time. I think this kind of thing is great for services where you are likely to have a few visitors.

Welcome

If you have come here in search of understanding
, company 
and solace

You are welcome

If you have come here out of duty, to fulfill the expectations of others

You are welcome.

If you have come here because we promised mince pies, an experience, a journey, or an encounter

You are welcome.

Whether you have seen a glimmer of peace, know it in abundance or know only of its absence
 you are welcome

Whether you feel 
lonely, 
afraid, loved, embraced.

You are welcome

If you are fragile with grief, 
regret, 
perhaps guilt 
you are welcome

Whatever your expectations are.

You are welcome.

We cannot promise to fulfill them, but we can promise that

You are welcome.

You are welcome.

You are welcome.

[Adaptation of liturgy from this site: hold this space]

A pregnant pause: Christmas service in a stable

Things needed: Stable (or local B&B), candles, torches.

During advent last year we held one of our evening services in a stable. I was so unbelievably excited about this service from the time the idea popped into my head, until…well I’m still pretty excitable about it, and already looking forward to next year’s one. But despite this fact, I managed to tame my extrovert tendencies and not tell the whole world about it before the event. So it was all a bit of a surprise for everyone.

This is how the service ran:

– Everyone arrived at the church knowing only that we might be going outside for a bit, so they should wear warm clothing. I asked them all to write down on a piece of paper their answer to the question ‘What signifies Christmas for you?’ (If I had had the resources I would have got them to write this on a stone).

– We then walked to a local B&B (owned by a member of our church) which had a stable out the back. I had put some fairy lights up beforehand and made a couple of benches with hay bails and wooden planks. I had also placed a candle in the center on a table.

– As people arrived they all received a candle and a service sheet. The service was then fairly reflective and contained liturgy, carols, a poem, and some readings (if you would like a copy of the service sheet let me know).

– At the end of the service people were invited to respond to the message by making sure Jesus was the significant thing for them this Christmas (said in a less cheesy way than that!). If they wanted to, they could place the piece of paper (from the beginning of the service) around the central candle.

– We then enjoyed some hot spiced apple (Mulled wine spice with Capella apple juice) and mince pies.

If you don’t happen to have a stable near your church, you could always ask around at local B&B’s to see if you could go there and have a service out the back somewhere because there’s no room for you to have it in the inn…