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Christmas may be one of the last holidays that crosses most religious and cultural lines; there aren’t too many individuals and families who don’t celebrate it in some way, shape or form. For many, it’s a time to come together no matter who we are or what we believe.
Because of this, Christmas could just be the most perfect time of year to reach out and get to know your neighbours. And let’s be clear: it’s not just about providing a fun event to possibly lure them to come to your Christmas services or other church programs; it’s about building relationships between congregational members and your local community!
So what is YOUR church up to this Christmas? We’d love to hear about it!
Email Erin, our Communications Coordinator today so she can share it with other deacons and churches.
And while we’ve got you here, here are some events we found in churches and some of our partner agencies across Canada. Perhaps one of these will inspire you – for this season or for next year’s planning. What is even more meaningful is when members host these activities in their own neighbourhoods and communities! It’s an opportunity to meet your neighbours and work together for the good of your city. And we think all of these can happen even with Covid-19 protocols in place 🙂
- Illuminated Advent Path: One church (okay, it was in Michigan) put together an “Illuminated Advent Path”, an intergenerational event to kick-off the Christmas season. Read about it here on the Network.
- Gingerbread House Contest; One church plant in Ontario held a Gingerbread House event and then allowed people to ‘walk’ through the “village” display and vote on their favourites! Community members enjoyed more than 50 impressive creations on display, hot chocolate, LIVE kid-friendly music and some Grinch punch! Check out the pictures on their Facebook page.
- Christmas Caroling for the Win! Open Homes Hamilton, one of our NewGround Community Ministry partners who works to support newcomers to Canada and provide unique housing, is going to spread some Christmas cheer by singing carols outside of “Guest” homes this year.
And here are some of our fabulous ideas!
- Tree Lighting Ceremony! Does your church property have a beautiful tree on its property? Do you live on a cul-de-sac with a tree on it? Bring your neighbourhood together this Christmas. Provide hot chocolate, sing carols, invite them to your church’s Christmas service or give them streaming info. You could include a Holiday Food Drive to entice people to come as well.
- Bless a Local School: Is there a school near your church or in your community? Round up neighbours to put together goodies to place in the teachers’ lounge. These can be Stockings of Love or trays of baking or perhaps provide lunch from a local restaurant. (Don’t forget to arrange this with the principal or administrator!)
- Host an Outdoor Christmas Market: On your church’s property, at someone’s home, or partner with a local organization to host it in an ideal location. You’ll be supporting local artisans and bringing people together! Ask vendors to donate a portion of their proceeds to a local cause you support (and don’t charge them a fee for their spot to make it even more enticing!) Set up a fun Christmas Photo Booth for families who can’t afford professional photos, serve warm drinks, hold an urn-making workshop … and just bring people together!
- Rent a local arena or outdoor skating rink for a few hours and offer free skating.
Deacons, we hope these ideas will help you as you ‘animate your congregation’ this Christmas season and beyond!