Last night's Alive@5 was on the theme of "Welcome!". We have been working through a series on Parables of Jesus, and took a slight detour due to recent events in the news. The promotional image was meant to be somewhat ambiguous in terms of who is being welcomed and who is needing welcome.
We had several newcomers so it was good express welcome!
The program was as follows:
1. Arrival Activity We played the episode "Cats and Dogs" from the Aardman series "Creature Comforts" - the video is about dogs and cats being critical of each other.
1. Starry Christmas The activity involved decorating a Christmas star. We had little Christmassy peg gift tags with stars on them. The pegs were glued to a wooden chopstick with some ribbon trailing and then decorated with glitter and stuff. I don't have a photo.
2. Bright Christmas Our plenary session involved a drama with three not-very-wise people and live music with Kylie Brice.
Interactive Easter was held again on Palm Sunday in March. Since many families go away over Easter, we 'rehearse' the whole of the Easter story at the start of Holy Week - from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. The program was similar to what we have done previously. We open from 5-7pm. People come when they choose. We channel them through the first two activities and then they can do activities in any order, however we try to get them to leave through a final room experience.
1. Arrival Activity Craft activity making a donkey (but without the palm leaf with the tacky verse). People also received a guide/map of the activities and a bag in which to collect and take stuff home.
2. Plenary Session We run this about every 15 minutes. The aim is to start the story that they are about to experience, in this case starting Holy Week with Palm Sunday. The segment usually has music, drama, visuals. On this occasion it was
Music (Intro to "Long Live The King" from "The Passion" by Adrian Snell) plus a Palm branch movie as people came in.
Welcome and introduction to the story by the MC, our minister Jock.
Drama - A Donkey's Tale (I adapted this from a script that I found online here)
I co-ordinated our local church's annual camp on the weekend. For a variety of reasons we had a very small turnout, and even then a bunch of people could only come part-time. So for our Sunday worship we had a small group of four families.
Our theme for the weekend was "Makes You Wonder" - about the wonder of Creation and our own wonderings about God. The camp was in cabins in a bush setting in McLarenvale south of Adelaide.
I invited each family to go for a short walk and find a spot in the bush that seemed special or significant, that made them wonder. They were to sit and contemplate the place when they arrived. I invited them then to find some verses of a Psalm that resonated with their sense of being in that place.
We gathered back together about 20 minutes later. Then each family in turn took us to the special place that they had found.
First we simply stood there in silence for a short time.
Then someone from the family read the verses from the Psalm and explained something about why the place felt special for them and how the Psalm spoke to them.
Then people from the other families were invited to offer one sentence prayers in response.
To close, I offered an "I wonder...." sentence which was a reponse oriented towards our lives as people of faith.
Then we walked together to a second spot, and so it repeated.
We were taken to a fork in a track and reflected on making choices, a high ropes course where we reflected on risk and trust, a pretty setting with trees and a bridge over a creek bed which was dry - lots of birds where we reflected on places of refreshment in our lives, and then a massive cluster of smooth grey gums which symbolised strength and beauty.
I had a story lined up to tell when we returned to camp but we didn't need it.
Interactive Easter 2014 at Rosefield Uniting Church started with an invitation to make and decorate palm leaves in the church foyer. This also serves as a kind of 'holding area' while people wait to enter the worship space. On this occasion we also gave each family an Easter basket for collecting things as they moved through the activities. The idea was that they would end up with a take-home Easter story of text and symbols. So at several activities there were laminated story cards and symbols to collect.
We run the plenary session every 10-15 minutes and bring people through in groups from the foyer. The aim here is to make people feel welcome, introduce them to the Easter story, and explain the activities. There was narration, we used a video clip from the "Holy Moly" Holy Week & Easter DVD from Sparkhouse, and the musicians sang "Love Has Come Again" with some images onscreen.