Posts

Three Great Feasts

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  Easter is done and dusted, all the chocolate eggs and hot cross buns eaten. But if you thought the festivals of the church calendar were over until Advent or maybe Christmas... just wait, there’s more… The Three Great Feasts or Festivals traditionally conclude the season of Easter and usher in the season of Pentecost. Three Sundays worth of interesting sounding titles and theological concepts that continue to challenge and stretch us today. Ascension Day (13 May) is 40 days after Easter Sunday and so is on a Thursday, but can be observed on the following Sunday. Pentecost Sunday (23 May) follows Ascension 10 days later. Trinity Sunday (30 May) deals with one of the biggest theological concepts of all time, but provides an opportunity to simply acknowledge that we don’t know or understand everything and never will, and that’s okay. These three family devotions require nothing but yourselves, but include additional resource ideas, and it is my hope and prayer that the thinking and l

Under the Olive Tree - conversations about Easter

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  This Lent/Easter season, we have a series of intergenerational services for your church to download and use. These services have been written by our Children and Families Team and used in churches. This season in the church calendar is a very important one to share together as an intergenerational community and we want to support you in this.  Download one of our services, or get in touch with us if you would like us to run a service for you. We love getting out and about and supporting your ministry.  Intergenerational Services:  The rocks will cry out: Palm Sunday The Mercy Tree: Good Friday The Colours of Easter: Easter Sunday Breakfast on the Beach: Jesus appears to the disciples  More Easter resources

A Community Christmas Event

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This Christmas is a good opportunity to gather your community together to sing and celebrate. This resource gives you all you need to create a community Christmas event. It is approx. 45 minutes long, is easy to use, fun and interactive, and perfect for all ages. Sing together, explore the letters in the word CHRISTMAS and spell out some very important words! Full Resource available here Skit script Spelling out CHRISTMAS activity

An Aotearoa Advent Circle

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The Aotearoa Advent Circle is an arrangement made of shell necklaces and paua shells with five candles, four around the circle and one in the centre. It’s inspired by the traditional Advent Wreath, which was invented in Germany by a village pastor helping his flock to count down the days to Christmas. In Europe the Forest was the place of adventure, quest and danger. The evergreen branches of pine trees symbolised the faithfulness of God’s love and the candles showed the light of Christ. But we live in Aotearoa, it’s summer time, everything is green, and using traditional pine branches in an Advent wreath seems a little odd. So, here is an Advent circle instead, with symbols drawn from the Ocean instead of the Forest. This is how you can interpret it.  The circle reminds us of God. A circle has no beginning or end, neither has God. God is for ever.  The shells remind us of the oceans. The water goes right around our globe touching every continent. God’s love is as wide as the ocean,

A Journey Through Advent

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This is a resource that can be used by families and households during Advent, as well as by a church congregation. It is simple for a family to use over the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. The Sundays of Advent are often focussed around the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. This resource centres around an Advent Wreath, the lighting of candles for each of these themes, and engaging with Bible stories in the lead up to Christmas Day. In uncertain times it is good to create daily and weekly rhythms and routines as anchors or lighthouses to help us stay firm and find our way when the storms of life come with such unpredictability. It is our hope and prayer that these resources will be a part of that for you and your family. You will need: The Full Resource Additional resources

The Grinch can't steal our Christmas!

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Dr Seuss tells the wonderful story of a Grinch who is not a fan of Christmas. It’s too noisy and disruptive. So, he creates a plan to steal it. Late on Christmas Eve he sneaks down to the village below and takes all the presents, decorations and food. But the Whos of Whoville, in the village  below are not to be stopped! Come Christmas morning, the Whos join hands in a circle and sing with joy! The Grinch cannot resist the sounds of joy, and the final scene sees him seated at the feast, invited to be part of Christmas.  As followers of Jesus we know that Christmas is more than the trimmings. It’s more than just food or decorations or presents. God came to dwell with us. That’s how much we are loved! That’s worth celebrating.  Our focus this year is on ‘The Certainty of Christmas’. In our uncertain times, people are looking for hope and meaning. They may well feel that the Grinch has stolen much from them this year, and is threatening to steal Christmas too. But in the midst of these ch

A prayer for teachers

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As children flood through your doors, may you feel the love of God flooding in with them.  As your children bring with them their experiences of bubble-living,  may you find strength to hold the stories of brokenness you hear  in tension with the stories of ‘blanket-fort building fun’ in the lounge with Dad.  May you be filled with joy at accounts of families sharing dinner around the table. As your children carry with them various shades of anxiety,  may you have courage to bring healing and comfort to their worries,  while finding peace for your own.  As you see dirty faces and empty lunchboxes  may you know that God's heart breaks too. Today may you know afresh how important you are  in the life of just one of these children  who will walk through your door and may you be blessed. Amen