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Archive for October, 2012

Being a Christian Pumpkin

Searching for pumpkin carving ideas I came across this sweet poster talking about how Christians are like pumpkins – ‘God… scoops out all the yucky stuff… and puts his light inside of you…’

And Emma has blogged a lovely prayer that we used when making our pumpkin with a face (pics to follow).

Dear God,

As I open this pumpkin I pray that you help us all open up more to you.
As I clean out this pumpkin I pray that you clean us of our sins and forgive us.
As I cut eyes into this pumpkin I pray that you show us our work for you in the world.
As I cut a nose for this pumpkin I pray that you remove our stubbornness.
As I cut ears into this pumpkin I pray that you help us hear your message into our heart.
As I cut a mouth into this pumpkin I pray that you help us share your love with others.
As I put a candle into this pumpkin I pray that more of your light comes into the world.
Amen.

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Saw this great cartoon by Crimperman yesterday about some traditional Christian responses to Halloween:

As regular readers will know, we now like to carve a Christian pumpkin and tell our callers about it before giving them sweeties and a tract. Mez McConnell in Niddrie has been thinking through his responses to Halloween with the help of a thought-provoking blog by Steve Utley.

We in the Vicarage are going to have to do some extra thinking through this week as the Joker has been invited to a Halloween party this week and we need to work out how to respond. What will you be doing this Wednesday evening?

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Like Vicar’s wives up and down the nation (and around the world too) I am involved in our Sunday School – I teach about once a month and also help others by sourcing various materials. We base our teaching programme on the excellent TNT materials, which work well for our fluctuating numbers and wide age range. I supplement the TNT stuff with extra colouring and wordsearches. I have blogged previously on some of the sites I use for sourcing helpful extras, but now I have a couple of additional ones to share.

Mary at Mission Bible Class has a great site with lots of links and ideas, including helping children to pray and blank lesson plans.

I’ve been using Sermons4kids for a while, but only recently discovered their worship bulletins – these are great if you have an all age service with a visiting speaker who might not be that child-friendly. They’re also brilliant for your normal Junior Church. The bulletin contains colouring, wordsearch and other puzzles and can be printed back and front on an A4 sheet to give you a folded A5 bulletin. You can even customise it with your church logo!

The site is arranged using the Lectionary, but you can easily use the search facility to find the passage you’re using. You’ll find the bulletins (if there is one – they don’t seem to have them for every kids sermon on the site) at the bottom of the page eg see this one on Exodus 16.

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We are very excited in the Vicarage. In about 2 weeks time, Dreamer will be joining us as our Families and Community Worker. Our church family are delighted to have appointed her and are looking forward to getting to know her as she comes to live and minister amongst us. In one of those ministry swings and roundabouts, a couple of days after she was appointed, our lovely Ministry Trainee Sweet Tooth decided that he wasn’t quite ready to step into ministry yet and left the Vicarage to start another course of study. So our house is a little emptier just now, although the children and other visitors (including Dreamer and her happy dog last week) seem to fill the place up well enough.

One challenge for Dreamer when she begins here will be leading our small youth group. Since the Vicar had A Very Important Meeting last week, I was helping out along with our new MT Radiohead and Cheery, a laughing lady from our congregation. The group has almost doubled in size since last year and in the meeting I attended the boy:girl ratio was 9:2, so testosterone levels were running pretty high. About a third of the kids have learning difficulties of some sort or another, which mainly means that attention spans can be rather limited. So, all in all, it was a pretty fizzy evening. But despite that, they still read the bible out loud and talked about what the narrow way looks like. And, as Dreamer said afterwards, noone died, noone was bitten and noone set fire to anything. I’m sure that many involved in youth work will recognise the experience of trusting that the Lord is working even when we don’t feel like much is going in!

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Happy Hair

And what would make you more happy about your hair than having it cut for £4, like I did yesterday? And I had the added bonus of being able to have a sweet chat about a lovely lady from our congregation who went to glory a few weeks ago. And I was able to walk to the hairdressers from the Vicarage. Sometimes there are unexpected pluses to urban ministry.

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I’ve just started a Facebook page for this blog. If you like, you can like it and you’ll get told about blogposts going up and be kept up-to-date. I’ve also linked it to my Twitter account, but that’s rather experimental, as I do ramble a bit over there. We’ll see how it goes.

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Of course, Halloween is approaching before All Hallows Day, and over the last couple of years I’ve blogged a few different ideas that we’ve used in the Vicarage, and some that others have suggested to me. I had a poll where people owned up to whether they hide behind the sofa or not and I’ve put up a few pictures of alternative pumpkins. Last year I reflected that this sort-of-new-to-the-British festival is only going to get bigger, so we Christians need to have thought through our approach.

So this year we’ll be carving pumpkins and lighting our windows with a gospel message. We’ll have sweeties to hand out and ask the visitors to tell us jokes. Our youth group meet that night so they will be having some Light Party games and lots of sugared items. And we’ll be giving out gospel leaflets with all this too. The Good Book Company have three different ones available this year – a couple for primary school aged kids and one for teenagers. They’re 17p each at the most (discounts apply if you bulk buy). The Good Book Co also sell One Day Wonders, which has everything you need to run a Light Party (and one off events for Christmas and Easter too). Why not stock up now so you’re prepared for the inevitable rings at the doorbell?

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