All-age Christingle services

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1 All-age Christingle services Background Christingle services are held in churches, usually between Advent and Candlemas. It is an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to join in, using oranges to create visible symbols of the Christian message. The Christingle has its origins in a Moravian children s service held in a castle in Germany on Christmas eve in The Bishop conducting the informal service gave each child a lighted candle, tied with a red ribbon in memory of the Saviour s coming, which he said has kindled a flame in each heart that keeps burning to His joy, and our happiness. Our modern Christingle consists of: an orange representing the world a red ribbon, tied around the orange representing the blood of Jesus fruits and sweets, skewered on four cocktail sticks that are pushed into the orange representing God s good gifts of the fruits of the earth and the four seasons a lighted candle, pushed into the centre of the orange representing Christ, the light of the world Here are a few ideas from children and young people for running a Christingle service: The making up of the Christingle When preparing the Christingles for the service, offer the chance for all ages to be involved this can make it more engaging for those involved and more time can then be spent talking about the meaning of Christingles. Note: Perhaps the Christingle could be partly made and then the children add the candle and cocktail sticks during the service. What to use For health and safety reasons, glow sticks can be used in place of candles. These are very effective and produce an array of colours when the lights are turned off. Red sticky tape is best to use in place of ribbon then there is no need to use a pin to hold the ribbon. Does it have to be an orange? Any round fruit could be used. Suggestions for the service One way of getting all people involved in the service is for the whole congregation to walk around the church and place the Christingles at the front or you could invite the congregation to stand in a circle holding the Christingles while singing a Christmas hymn or carol. Adults as well as children and young people should be encouraged to have Christingles. Evening services are best because it is dark and therefore more effective. Perhaps the children could stand at the front and share their feelings about Christmas what they like about Christmas, what it means to them and/ or the true meaning. Note: Only encourage those who want to speak, as some children feel very nervous about talking in front of the congregation. One way of encouraging feedback could be to distribute post-it notes and give everyone one minute to write down what Christmas means to them and to stick the notes up round the church to be looked at after the service. Could the meaning of the individual components of the Christingle link into the work of Action for Children? Use PowerPoint whenever possible to make it a more visual service. Songs/hymns Songs about light He s got the whole world in his hands Come and join the celebration Note: A live band would be great

2 Preparation for your Advent services What does Christmas mean to you? Advent calendar Here is a great way to prepare the congregation for Christmas; you can use this at the start of your service each week. Make a large Advent calendar, using the quotes from children for the messages behind the doors. How to make your calendar Get a large piece of white card, and draw on five large squares, using some of the quotes below about what Christmas means or ask members of your congregation to give you quotes to put on the squares. Then, place another piece of card on top, and mark out where each square is on the card. Then design the front of the card create any image you want, ignoring the marks for the doors at the moment. Perhaps you could use a photo of your church congregation or something that symbolises light. Once you are happy with the top of your card, cut along three sides of the areas you have marked out, to create mini doors that fold out. Then place strong glue around the outside of the bottom piece of card. Line up the top piece in place and press hard. Ask children and young people in your congregation for quotes to include in your windows. Here are some examples of quotes you can use behind your squares: Christmas means laughing and spending time with your family and friends (Jen, 19) Spending time with those you love and who love you. It s not about presents, as a lot of children think. It s about enjoying the time you have on this earth. But most importantly it s about forgetting those bad feelings you might have about someone and celebrating the birth of Jesus, no matter who you are. ( Ella,11) Jesus Christ was born on this day so it must mean that this a day for peace and love (Teisha, 11) Christmas is a time to feel a spirit of joy and peace. It is a time to connect and feel especially close and thankful for family. It is a cosy time. (Vickie, 10) Christmas means to me spending time with family that you haven t seen in a long time, and holidays (Bianca,13) Christmas to me means when you think of people that love you and the people who are loved by you, not just all the presents and the decorations. It s all about giving and receiving and spending time with your loved ones. (Sissy, 15) Christmas means to love your family and friends. Forget all your bad times and nightmares! Have a good day on Christmas. (Jasmine, 9) Caring, sharing and loving and just being happy and being together. But one needs to carry that out all year through. Love, sharing, caring, keeping in touch with loved ones all year through. I believe it is Jesus way to keep the spark lighting with love, joy, peace, happiness, and hope. (Tiffani, 10) Being with your family and appreciating the good health and love you have (Liam, 11) Christmas means to me that you should remember the birth of Jesus. It is also to give, share and to care for those who don t have a home. (Jemma, 9)

3 A Christmas carol service... with a difference Your children and young people may love the opportunity to be able to plan and lead the Christmas carol service, with your support or the support of a worker. This can create a real sense of belonging for the young people and is certain to involve a lot of fun! Here are some ideas from children and young people about how to make a carol service fun! In advance of the service: Encourage people to come to the service wearing something red. Ask the congregation if anyone would like to write and share a short Christmas poem during the service (you may wish to vet these before the service). If possible, ask different representatives in your church\group (ie a child, a grandparent etc) to write Christmas prayers that can be used for the service. Invite a local band or group to lead the worship. Setting the scene: Set the scene for the party celebration of Jesus birth by decorating the church or hall with fairy\christmas lights, balloons and other soft furnishings such as purple drapes and fake-glow candles. Prepare PowerPoint slides of Christmas images to run as people are coming in to the service (this could include drawings created by the congregation or you could ask people in the congregation if they wish to share Christmas photos). The service Vote for your favourite Christmas carol As people come in to the service, hand out a list of songs or carols and post-it notes (make sure the worship group is comfortable playing the songs) and ask people to text in their two favourite carols to a mobile number (ie belonging to a youth worker or volunteer) or write them on a post-it note. Look at them during the next song or during the service and choose the three most popular options to be sung at the end of the service. Have some lively music playing such as Rocking around the Christmas tree or Snow is falling as people come in to the service and as the PowerPoint slides are playing. Welcome Christmas carol: O come, all ye faithful Prayers (written by members of the congregation) Christmas poem Christmas-themed game show Pick a current or popular game show and see if you can adapt it to be played by members of the congregation and based on the Christmas story. Example: an adaption of the TV show Deal or no deal Get 10 boxes and fill them with cards with verses from Luke chapter 2 verses 1 to 20, and in each box place various presents (eg Fairtrade chocolates or joke toys). Place a large number on the front of the box and display the boxes on a large table. In advance, select two people to be the hosts one to lead the show and take calls from the banker and one to support the players (eg holding the microphone). If possible, have a mobile phone that can ring and someone to call the phone. Invite 10 members of the congregation to volunteer to play the game. Ask the players to get in line and the first player picks a box. The mobile phone then rings and the host (pretending to listen to the banker) tries to persuade the contestant to take an offer of a mystery prize (again these can include a mixture of chocolate or duff prizes like toilet roll).

4 If the contestant chooses a duff prize, the host will then open the box to see what they could have won and hand the verse inside the box to the contestant. This way each contestant will have a verse to read. At the end of the game, ask the contestants to get themselves in order according to the verses they each have and asks them to read out the verse or asks the person next to them to read it if they don t feel comfortable (again the support host can help with younger children). Address The Minister or Youth\Children s Leader may then wish to give an address about the gift of Christmas. This could include a short clip of a relevant Christmas film. The first noel Congregation sings while the children act out the nativity or you could have a carol led by the choir Prayers Voting announced! Sing the three most popular Christmas carols Blessing

5 Tips for running a successful Christmas holiday club The following ideas are used with kind permission from Holiday Time, Quality Time, the Church s guide to running a Holiday Club, Doug Swanney and Paul Beautyman, Parish Education Publications. A holiday club is a chance for the Church to connect with children and young people in different and exciting ways. Here are a few tips for planning and running a successful programme: set clear aims: be clear about why are you running the holiday club and what you hope to achieve plan well ahead volunteers: provide clear information and training for volunteers consider constructing a number of job descriptions to help you in your planning, eg holiday club administrator, group leaders, group workers, support workers (kitchen) child protection: all those working with children must have been trained in the Church s Child Protection Policy and you must follow a registration procedure for the children attending hold a dedication service: ask the whole congregation to recognise and pray for the holiday club funding: give your congregation the chance to be involved in supporting the work where possible link with other churches or groups to pool your resources place: be creative and book early! time: mix the holiday club up with day and evening events publicity: advertise in schools, have posters to give out at registration, consider contacting the local press and have a large painted banner outside the church at the end of the event be sure to thank your team, to encourage each other and share the good work with the congregation have follow-up events so that children can stay in touch with the team think about sending the children Christmas and Easter cards to let the children know you are thinking of them and that they are still part of the community Ideas for your holiday club: Invite experts in dance, music and drama to visit and help the children explore Christmas themes and express themselves. Go ice-skating, tobogganing or have skiing lessons at your nearest snowdome\dry ski slope. Have an alternative Christmas feast: decorate tables as you would for Christmas dinner and order then order KFC or a pizza, or eat foods from around the world. Ask the children and young people to help with decorating the church have a Christmas tree decorating competition between different groups in your church\centre. Work with the group to create and upload a media clip for True Tube, challenging people to think of others at Christmas and of the real meaning of Christmas. Or you could create a drama about the group s interpretation of the meaning of Christmas and upload it onto YouTube (YouTube also has hundreds of Christmas clips for use in sessions). Do a Christmas-themed Ready, Steady, Cook! competition Do Christmas graffiti message boards using old scraps of cardboard and cans of snow-spray. Have a snowball fight using balls of wet cotton wool! Have a Christmas cinema day, watching popular Christmas films back to back. Encourage the group to consider filling Christmas stockings with good but unused toys\presents to take into charity shops in time for Christmas. Host a Wear something silly Christmas party. Run a Christmas talent show starring all those who took part in the holiday club.

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