The season of Christmas can offer unique opportunities to reach out to and serve the community beyond our church doors.
But what’s the best way to get the message of the real gift of Christmas to those around us? Every situation and place is different, so we asked some congregations and parishes to share their stories.
St John’s Lutheran Church, Wilsonton, Queensland
As we are located in a farming area on the outskirts of Toowoomba, St John’s Wilsonton aims to help local families and country people affected by crises such as droughts and floods.
We do this by covering shoeboxes with Christmas wrap, filling them with goodies for children at Christmas, and donating them to Lifeline for distribution.
As I write this, we have about 200 boxes ready to fill with items collected during the year from members and those purchased with money donated toward the project, such as toys, books and school supplies. An appropriate Lutheran tract is added and the boxes are labelled to identify them according to age groups. This year is our best effort yet. Last year we presented approximately 140 boxes to Lifeline’s local CEO, Derrick Tuffield, while the year before we presented 100. Derrick attends the service at which one of the Sunday school children presents the gifts to him for distribution.
We don’t hear from recipients personally, nor do we look for responses. It is enough to know from Lifeline personnel of the joy and thanks expressed by those receiving the gifts.
– Trevor Becker
Some congregations, including Lobethal and Aberfoyle Park in South Australia, and Corinda in Queensland, reach out with the good news of Christmas by putting on plays, musicals and living nativities, while others host innovative festivals, fairs and markets. Members of St James, Moorabbin, in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, host a Christmas tree festival, with decorated trees, craft, home baking and Devonshire teas to connect with their community.
What does your congregation or parish do to share the true gift of Christmas with others? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org