North Elmham new nativity trail success
10 January 2018
A rural parish church in mid-Norfolk put on a new activity in Advent that brought all ages together around their local community. Churchwarden Susanna Wade Martins reports.
To mark the season of Advent, Victory Villages and St Mary’s church North Elmham set about planning a ‘Nativity trail’ around the village and in November they began composing questions and preparing illustrations.
At the beginning of Advent, 15 colourful posters appeared in gardens from one end of the village to the other. Each poster showed a picture connected to the nativity story as told in the gospels, a short explanatory piece and a simple question. There was also a second question suggesting something to think about. (How would YOU bring peace on earth?) There was a letter printed on each poster which could be used to fill in a grid at the end of the quiz sheet to make a phrase associated with Jesus (The Light of the World).
With the help of quiz sheets and a map, which had gone home in school bags or could be picked up at the church and the post office, youngsters could follow the trail, find the answers and fill in the quiz. The last poster was in the church where a reward of a chocolate star was waiting alongside the box for completed answers.
All ages were catered for and while the older ones found some of the questions very simple, they were fascinated by collecting the letters and piecing together the final phrase.
Over the four weeks leading up to Christmas children with their parents and grandparents were seen around the village filling in the forms, and the posters created a great deal of interest amongst older people as well.
After Christmas, we opened the box and were delighted to find 21 correct and tidily completed quiz sheets. A winner was drawn out of a hat and received a set of felt-tip pens.
It is clear from the very positive responses, that the event was a success, reminding children of what, beyond the tinsel and fairy lights, Christmas is really about, and there is now an expectancy that there will be a similar event next year. The only criticism was that the trail was taken down at Christmas; it is after Christmas that children need more things to do and perhaps we should have kept the posters up until Epiphany.