Archive for the “Advent” Category

spillbeans10Spill The Beans Issue 10 is now available for download, and takes us from 1 December to 2 March 2014, encompassing Advent, Christmas, Epiphany all the way to the Transfiguration. Over the season of Advent we focus on the bible passages from the prophets, before turning to the gospel readings for the remainder of this issue.

As always, inside you will find worship ideas and resources, including Bible notes, stories, prayers, reflections, music suggestions, and more, and for age groups you will find suggestions for activities, crafts, games and teen discussion resources. In this issue we also have an advent candle lighting liturgy and two “Blue Christmas” service liturgies, which are well worth looking at if you have never done anything like that before.

If you have already used Spill the Beans, you will know what a fabulous resource this is, created by folks here in Scotland. If you have not yet, but are intrigued, have a look at this sample.

If you’d like to download a full copy of Issue 10 for use in your church or personally, then click HERE. The cost is only £12. You can make a secure payment via PayPal and then an email with secure link to the download should wing its way to you. Please note that you can only download the file using this link three times, so please make sure you save the file to your computer.

Please follow the instructions carefully. The Adobe pdf file is approximately 6 MB.


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It’s 73 sleeps until Christmas!!!

That means it is 49 sleeps until Advent.

Have you written your sermons yet?  Planned your worship?

The thing is, for most churches worship is the central part of the week.  It is hugely important.

So, how much do you plan ahead?  I know that I’ve spent many a Saturday night writing a sermon but I’ve also been involved in planning worship months ahead.

I spent a day with some of my colleagues from Scotland, Northern and North Western Synods of the United Reformed Church thinking about how we can Think Ahead about how we can involve people in those times when people who don’t often come to church do come.

There are times like Christmas, Easter, Remembrance, Lent, Harvest, Sunday School Prize-Giving, Uniformed Organisation Services where people come to church.  For many people these times of connection are important but they can be problematic for churches, particularly those leading worship.

Some worship leaders use the opportunity to berate people for not coming the rest of the year.  If that’s you, please stop it.  I’m prepared to stick my neck out and say that shouting at people doesn’t help them feel valued and included.

So, why not get together with some other churches months before a significant period and think about what you could do?

Worship is important.  If our worship isn’t engaging, inspiring and coherent then people will assume that the rest of our church’s life is none of those things too.

These people who come don’t have a problem with church.  It’s important to them.

How can we build on that opportunity? It’s not often that people come to us!

How can we be creative in worship to engage people in ways that aren’t threatening? People want to be included and engaged but not put on the spot or made to feel stupid.

How can we expand our activities around festivals and events?  Are there things we can offer which would help people to engage?  Food, space, quiet, taking the church to unusual places, debate, resources, creativity, music, film…

None of these ideas are new… but they might be for you.  They just take a little bit of planning so that’s why it make sense to plan ahead.

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Wait by Shereen M

Photo: Shereen M

I wonder if our impatience comes because we consume rather than create?

If we never plant a seed how can we appreciate the time it takes the plant to root and to sprout and to grow and bear fruit?

If we never build anything how can we appreciate the time it takes to plan, to lay foundations, to build?

If we never wait on anything how can we know the joy of fulfilment?  How can we ever know when something has arrived?  How can we know that things have changed?

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Advent baby

Photo by Thomas Mathie

The Something Beautiful podcast gets all reflective for Advent.

We’ve roped in our better halves to bring you words crafted by a variety of  talented people, including Jonny Baker and Roddy Hamilton, and music from So Elated, Adeline and others.  We’ve borrowed it all and arranged it in a neatly wrapped giftbox for you.

We encourage you to stop, to listen and to wait, pondering Advent and what is to come.

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Goosebumps and Justice FlyerCome and join us if you’re in Edinburgh this evening.

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Wait Here...


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