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Dec 23

1st Sunday After Christmas (Year B) – “Alternative” Worshp Ideas

Since the 1st Sunday After Christmas falls on January 1st this year, I know that there are some who are looking for creative, “alternative” worship service ideas (since attendance may be lower, etc).  Well, I certainly don’t want to leave you wondering what ideas have, so… Here are some suggestions for service elements, themes, activities, and the like — a variety of ways that our worship can be meaningful (and, quite often, a real joy).  Be blessed!

Staying in the “traditional” worship space:

  • Start the New Year right by having a Service of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.  I suggest adapting your denomination’s liturgy for a service of healing, if you have one.
  • Gather all of the rhythm instruments that you have, distribute them to the congregation, and really make a “joyful noise” as you sing hymns and carols.  If you don’t have any special rhythm instruments, just use what you have!  Pew Bibles and hymnals can be transformed into “drums”, paper can be crumpled, hands can clap, and feet can stomp.

Instead of staying in the “traditional” worship space:

  • Did you use any of the mission project ideas that I shared for Christmas Day?  You could start (or continue) practically any of those projects on January 1st, too.  (Really, many of the craft/cooking ideas could be adapted to any season.)
  • After a time of prayer and scripture reading, gather in the fellowship hall or a classroom to create a mural or a collage that illustrates your congregation’s hopes, dreams, and prayers for the world.  A large, blank canvas (already prepped and stretched) works really well with most media.  Have each church member bring in a magazine and a newspaper so they can cut out words and pictures for the “prayer collage”.  Tacky craft glue would work, but you may also want to try using spray adhesive (easy application, dries clear, and could make for a smoother surface).  Look for art supplies in your area craft store – there are great sales going on right now (and check websites for coupons and special deals).  Display the “prayer collage” in your church as a reminder to pray for the world.
  • Another “prayers for the world” idea: create paraments to be used for communion services.  You will need a white tablecloth (made from fabric that is smooth enough for it to be easy to write on), and (if you can find ones that match) white table-runners.  The tablecloth will be used for the Communion Table.  The table-runners can be used to decorate the pulpit/lectern.  Use permanent paint pens or permanent fabric markers (I suggest colors like gold, silver, grey, and cream) to write simple words and phrases on the cloths – the words/phrases should express the congregation’s prayers for the world and community.  Anyone can participate in this activity (even kids who can’t write yet can have an adult help them write their prayer).  Use the paraments whenever you serve the Lord’s Supper during 2012.

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