The Day the Clocks Went Back
We knew it would be chilly and had been asking the church people to be preparing themselves for a couple of hours outside - bring blankets and hot water-bottles, find your winter hats and scarves and bring your friends, family and neighbours along for a festival style event... We will have evangelistic hook a duck, hot chocolate, a lit labyrinth and some singing and dancing. We can eat toasted marshmallows at the fire pit with a cup of hot apple punch and eat hot dogs and autumnal cakes - spiced fruit cake, gingerbread and parkin. We can have a quiz and finish it all off with a bedtime story.
It was chilly - but it was dry and people arrived in good humour - a few extra blankets were shared out and a few words of welcome and explanation from the front served to set people at their ease... We kept the programme running quickly and didn't hand around for two long between pieces of content and the playlist which provided a time frame for the whole event.
People came and stood around the fire pit. Conversations in the twilight were had with people who wouldn't necessarily come for evening service.
The Lit Labyrinth was beautiful - our first go at a labyrinth and used by all ages. It was conversed in, played in, prayed in and contemplated in - the lights gaining intensity as the twilight deepened into darkness.
The ducks (bought for 20p each from a local second hand shop) were each numbered and this corresponded to a word of hope. A bouncy ball reminded us that 'God has the whole world in his hands' a stretchy person reminded us that we matter to God, toffee apples for us being the apple of God's eye and other treasures with a message of love could be hooked out of the duck pond - a tough tray with some foamy water, a couple of bricks in the centre and a small gazebo with tape around to provide the fishing perimeter.
Home Baking is always a winner - and we knew who our best bakers are who would provide delicious treats. We couples this with good quality fair trade hot chocolate and some marshmallows (there were marshmallows everywhere!). Earlier in the year, we had invested in some good quality coffee flasks from Indigo Valley - a small business who are all about making church coffee good! There was a cauldron of hot apple punch too.
We are fortunate to have an excellent outdoor PA and some incredibly talented guys who set it up and run it well. The sound was loud and clear and plenty of twinkly lights added a real festival feel.
I use Evangeline Epiphany's Littlebody stories to tell the gospel message.
Plenty of the church's own people who have a heart for evangelism came along and shared in conversation with passers by and interested people. It was lovely! And we will do it again!