12/11/2020

Christmas is not cancelled - We are reimagining it

The Bishop of Warrington's series "Reimagining Church" continued with ideas and inspiration for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany

Ideas, inspiration and encouragement were the order of the day as church leaders from across our diocese met on zoom to reimagine Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Here we include some of the ideas and inspiration that came from this session.

Our hope is that if you are struggling to see what you can do in your context then you can find something here to get you started. Here we have
  • ideas from around our diocese
  • information about the national campaign -Comfort and Joy
  • A nod to using A Church Near You
 

It's going to be a different Advent and Christmas season.

Participants acknowledged that it is very different this year. Not simply through the uncertainty of the regulations and restrictions of lockdown but also through the fact that we know people are tired. Church leaders and congregations have been through a great amount and we are still uncertain about what December will bring.

 

We still need to plan and promote ourselves - It's a Mission Opportunity

The message from the session was we still need to plan and promote our Advent, Christmas and Epiphany activities. The public is crying out for the opportunity to celebrate and it will be good to tell them what we are doing. As one delegate said we have "an opportunity to fill time for people. They are more open and have time now. It's a mission opportunity.

We have also got used to last-minute changes in plans and are more understanding and tolerant of late cancellations. So we encourage a bold approach that shows we are still seeking to be a bigger church making a bigger difference this year.
Ideas from our diocese (and Beyond)

If you are trying to think about what works or could work then here are some thoughts to get you inspired


Prepare some giveaways
One church is looking at advent activity bags and Carols on CD
A church is preparing Advent Afternoon Teas based on Comfort Joy Peace and Hope


Advent gives us opportunities
Doing Advent Windows are popular - putting lighted candles is a simple suggestion
One church is trying a living advent calendar around their village
Scripture Union have produced a trail with QR codes
Spill the Beans have resources for outside storytelling


Christingle is still popular
You can download the Children’s Society material at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/christingle
One church is doing Christingles to go with an online service



Find creative ways to sing carols
Carol singing can be an outreach and singing outdoors may well be a possibility
Churches are doing singalong hymns muted on zoom, or via Whats App  - singing along with You Tube videos
The Church of England will have a load of resources at www.achurchnearyou.com
A number of organisations have online services.
Locals have been invited to join in socially distanced carol singing

St Cuthberts in Liverpool are encouraging us 
to open our doors and sing Away in A Manger at 4pm on Christmas Eve



Note the guidance on singing during the pandemic
The church has guidance on outdoor worship which you can read here (not current during lockdown)
Keep an eye on www.churchofengland.org/coronavirus for updated advice and guidelines

Online courses still work
Churches are reporting that alpha and other online courses are proving popular.

One church is doing an advent course based on the advent wreath

There’s a good online course here https://www.lightsforchrist.uk/lightinthedarkness
We have people doing courses based on Paula Gooder’s Advent Book
 
These were the ideas that came from the session. If you have any other ideas or want to find out more about any of the above then email communications@liverpool.anglican.org
 
 
Comfort and Joy from the Church of England
After the success of #FollowTheStar in recent years, the Church of England's national Christmas campaign is "Comfort and Joy"

Following the same pattern as previous years they have produced a series of reflections from well-known figures. Entitled  Comfort and Joy: Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas they will be available in book form or online and via their app. They include child and family-friendly activities with youth resources being developed.

Daily Hope the free phone number (0800 804 8044) will also be offering Comfort and Joy daily reflections.

As part of the campaign, you can buy a whole range of resources from Church House Publishing as well as downloading a great deal of digital material from the main Comfort and Joy page (www.churchofengland.org/ComfortAndJoy)

Church leaders can use this presentation to promote Comfort and Joy
 
Join a Comfort and Joy webinar and find out more about how you can benefit from the campaign

More details here
A Church Near You is your friend this Christmas
Once again we encourage every church to update their A Church Near You site with your service information. It really does benefit you. 

All of the national effort promoting Comfort and Joy points to A Church Near You If your church is on the site with up to date information then you may benefit from an enquirer.

The Church Near You Resource Hub

Don't forget churches benefit from the Resource Hub on A Church Near You. In particular, at Christmas, there will be plenty of material related to Comfort and Joy along with free to use Christmas and Advent music (provided you have the right streaming licence).

Log on to your account and go to the Resource Hub to find out more.

www.achurchnearyou.com 

"we have an opportunity to fill time for people. They are more open and have time now. It's a mission opportunity.

News & Events

Advent, Christmas and Epiphany sermons

Following the success of our summer sermons, senior clergy are recording sermons that you can use in your context.

They will be based on the relevant lectionary readings and will start on December 13th

Advent 3 (December 13)
Dean Sue

Advent 4 (December 20)
AD Mike

Christmas midnight 
Bishop Paul

Christmas Day
Bishop Bev

Christmas 1 (December 27)
AD Pete

Christmas 2/Epiphany (January 3)
AD Simon

Find out more at www.liverpool.anglican.org/Advent-Sermons