Well, it’s very exciting! We thought what better way to go through Advent than to have this journey towards finding Jesus!
Each week, we’re putting a hundred painted pebbles, with nativity characters on, around play areas and streets of Kingsholm to encourage families to find them and gradually build up a nativity scene as we draw closer to Christmas.
Susan, very kindly went out and hunted around the garden centres till she found good pebbles. Then lots of people in the church have been having a really good time painting them and praying for the people who are going to be finding them.
So.. stars have appeared, then sheep and now this week, Mary & Joseph!
Families have been out lots of evenings after school enjoying looking for them. We hid the bright yellow stars in reasonably easy to find places and when we scouted around, we discovered all of them had been found. The second week was the sheep, sheep can be quite naughty so we made sure they were a bit better hidden!
We have also produced a #FindingJesus flyer which has a key theme and question for each week of Advent, to help people think about how the Christmas story connects with their own lives. It’s been a really tough year for all of us hasn’t it? So we thought including some key questions would be a helpful way for people to reflect on the year.
The first week was the star and the question we encouraged people to think about is “What’s important to you?” Because the wise men saw the star was important and decided to follow them. The second week of Advent has been sheep. We’ve asked people to think who they’re thankful for. This third week is Mary and Joseph and the question is “What have been your highs and lows this year? And who has supported you?”
We are hoping as we draw closer to Christmas that children will create their own nativity scenes at home, whether it’s using the pebbles they’ve found or making the characters at home. We hope that families will share photos of their nativity scene on social media using the hashtag #FindingJesus.
Alongside this we are creating short videos each week telling a bit of the Christmas story from the perspective of that character, and we plan to string them together with some carols for an online Crib service on Christmas Eve at 3pm.
The church is partnered with Kingsholm Church of England Primary and Nursery School. I’m a governor, and I often go in with Angharad, our children’s worker, to do collective worship times. Usually the children come up to the church to engage with Christmas activities too. We obviously can’t do that this year. But what we are doing is sending little prayer activities linked to these themes. The shepherds, for example, were like the key workers of their day, and so children can think about those people they are thankful for this year.
We hope that all these strands will join together and help the children and the wider community think about the true story of Christmas, and find a bit of joy on the way!
Rev. Jo Pestell, Vicar of St. CatharinesFollow Write Up Your Street: