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.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Christingle – 4 suggestions for making your Christingle even more special.




Yesterday we led the Christingle at Fen Ditton in Cambridgeshire UK. It is such a wonderfully symbolic service but judging by many compliments it went particularly well. This was partly due, it would seem, to four elements we have gradually incorporated into this very special service over several years. I pass them on as they could still be incorporated in any Christingles still to take place

Suggestion 1 ‘Construction bags’ rather than complete Christingles.
Instead of making up the Christingles in entirety, we made up bags, handed out at the beginning of the service, containing:
·      The orange with the red ribbon fixed round its middle.
·      The four cocktail sticks with the fruit/ sweets already on them
·      The square of kitchen foil
·      The candle with 2 half cocktail sticks sellotaped firmly to the bottom of the candle (See Suggestion 4 below)
This means the leader can guide the children (and adults) into building up the Christingle as the various symbols are explained, The Christingles have a better chance of remaining intact than when they are handed out complete!
Suggestion 2 Using the interactive story ‘The Shepherds’ Tale’ (There is a link to it at the bottom of this post).  Yesterday, about 80% of the adults present joined enthusiastically in this story/game. When the story is over, the message of the shepherds being on the fringes of society but very important to God’s plan, makes a good link for making the parallel of vulnerable children being on the edge but loved by God.
(For after Christmas Christingles, The Wise Men’s Tale might work better though it will need a different end message. Link at end of this post)
Suggestion 3 Making the blowing out of candles a special part of the service.
As already happens in many Christingles, everyone is placed around the four sides of the church with their candles lit to sing first and last verses of ‘Away in a Manger’ (no sheets needed for this). AFTER THIS get each person to blow their candles out one by one around the circle. We’ve seen and done this 3 times now and each time there has been an amazing stillness as it is done (we guess because everyone has to concentrate to make sure they blow their own candle out at the right time). This can be given added symbolism by the leader reminding people of how easy it is for us to let our lights stop shining in the world. Everyone is then invited to return quietly to their seats, reflecting on this, for the final prayer and dismissal.
Suggestion 4 Don’t cut the tops of the orange!
A practical tip already mentioned above - and vital if you’re going to have ‘construction bags’ but a much better idea anyway. Fix two half cocktail sticks firmly to the bottom of the candle with sellotape. There’s a bit of a knack but it means the oranges don’t have to be cut into with all the stickiness that creates. It also means that any unused oranges will not deteriorate nearly so quickly and can be used other ways. The candles will be perfectly stable when ‘stabbed’ into the top of the orange through the silver foil (see below)



I hope these ideas might be helpful and that any Christingle you organize will be a truly blessed occasion. Trevor.

The Shepherd’s tale can be found HERE

PS This also gives me an opportunity to pay a personal tribute to my late colleague, John Pensom, who instinctively recognized the potential of the Moravian Christingle to raise both funds and the profile of the Children’s Society. Thank you and RIP  John.


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'