MOST RECENT POSTS

In this column you will find the most recent posts unless you have selected a specific poem, meditation or collection/index in which case that single item will appear here.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Shepherd’s Tale (All-age interactive story)


I offer this as a tried and tested all-age activity suitable for any family/all-age service or event over the Christmas season. It has been used in small parish churches, town churches and in a cathedral. On every occasion it has been thoroughly enjoyed  and I especially like its capacity to get the adults to join in with the children.

It works this way. Get the children to join you and split them into five groups and sit on the ground in their groups (they won’t be sitting still for long so don’t worry if the floor is a bit cold). If you have a centre aisle of reasonable length, spread the groups down the aisle so all the congregation are as near a group as possible.
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One group has to remember ‘Caleb’, a shepherds name; the second remember ‘Amos’ another shepherd; the third group ‘Eleazar’, the  fourth ‘Reuben’ and the fifth group ‘Sheep’.  ALL THE CHILDREN have to listen out for their group’s name AND FOR ‘Shepherds’ and ‘Bethlehem’

As you tell the story which can be accessed HERE (BUT don't go to it until you've finished reading this column as it will then replace these instructions: so you might best be served by copying these instructions to a separate document first), each group has to stand up, turn round and sit down again whenever ‘their’ name is called and to do the same when ‘Shepherds’ or ‘Bethlehem’ are read out.

Start to read the story slowly so the children get the idea and so the smaller ones have a chance to follow the lead of the older children in their group. Then gradually speed up so the children soon have hardly time to sit down before they have to get up again. The children will enjoy the muddle and so will the rest of the congregation (unless they are very, very staid!).

THEN: stop the story where indicated in the script and invite everyone who can to join in each time ‘Shepherds’ or ‘Bethlehem’ feature. Every time I’ve used it about 80-90% of the congregation have joined in and on the occasion we used it in a cathedral I was delighted to see the Mayor and her party enjoying the silliness.

Once the script ends, go straight into whatever message fits your situation best. I like to go to why God chose powerless shepherds as his first evangelists – but there are many, many more messages that can be appended to the activity.

The story script can be accessed HERE. I only hope that if you chose to use this story (or your own similar story-line developed on this idea) you have as much fun as we have on every ‘outing’ of it.

There is more original Christmas and Advent material on this blog which you can find at the special index HERE 

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'