Although church closure and regular changes to guidance has been challenging for ministry and outreach over the last 10 months, there is still valued work continuing in many communities led by dedicated volunteers. In the small community of Badersfield, Lesley Chatwin and Mary Applegate from Badersfield Community Church were keen to continue engaging with their local Messy Church families. In November, Keeley Hilton the Children & Families Worker for the Aylsham and District Team Ministry made up some lovely activity bags which Lesley and Mary delivered to local Messy Church families. In addition to this, some extra bags were also made available in the local shop for other children to take, to help advertise their Messy Church.
In December, Lesley and Mary made up 24 Christmas bags for their Messy Church families which included a booklet about Christmas, a matchbox nativity activity and a Christmas challenge to make a stable from 10 lollipop sticks and washi tape. Into the bag was also added a kit from Keeley to make a Christingle.
“I trialled some of the activities on my Grandson to see how they worked. He made great efforts with the Christmas challenge activity, which he mixed with the matchbox nativity task as he wanted a star on the top!”
Lesley and Mary also decided to set up an Advent Trail; a series of 20 questions following the Christmas story on A4 landscape sheets, on signposts along a walk around Badersfield.
“My grandchildren had great fun following a Halloween trail, finding the next post and answering the simple questions and it gave me the idea to try a Christmas one. We tried to add a touch of humour to the multi choice questions, put in some related to Christmas carols etc.”
After selecting questions, the sheets were illustrated and laminated before being attached to wooden sign boards constructed by some willing local volunteers. These were then placed around the village.
The trail, which ran from 6 – 20 December, was advertised with posters and on the church Facebook page. Families completed their trail using their own pens and paper and those that wished to claim a prize placed their entries with their name and address in the church post box. This was checked weekly and in return for their efforts, entrants received through their door a small chocolate bar and a ‘I completed the Nativity Trail sticker’.
“The trail was very well received, we gave out 82 small chocolate bar prizes and ‘I completed the Nativity trail’ stickers, though we know of several dog walkers who followed the trail without submitting an answer sheet. We had some nice comments posted on Facebook as well as comments directly to us.”
The organisers did the trail a few times themselves to check the posts remained in place etc. but were pleased by the response and are considering organising a further Easter trail, to be open during Holy Week or over the Easter weekend.
Could you organise something similar in your community this Easter?
If you have any stories to share of the resources and activities you have been using and sharing in your church, Messy Church, or community groups, please do contact us.