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“Hardly anyone can ever find God because God is right at the end of your mind after all the background thoughts are gone.”
Maisie Satchwell-Hust

Grace Church Stirchley
#Flatpack Christmas
 
Grace Church Stirchley is an independent evangelical church in South Birmingham whose main aim is to help people love Jesus more and more.  Christmas is a great time to talk to people about Jesus and we have a number of well-established events that we usually run in order to reach out to the local community at this time of year.

Our Nativity Trail attracts families to come and explore an interactive Christmas story with performances, activities and real animals to feed and pet.  Our Carols by Candlelight evening is aimed at adults to come along and sing some festive favourites, listen to performances from our musicians and hear a bit more about Christmas from one of our Pastors.  Unfortunately, the current government restrictions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic meant that we needed to think outside the box this year and find different ways to connect with people. 
 
Whilst a version of our carol service was hosted online, we also wanted to create a craft activity that would be a fun way for children to learn about the birth of Jesus in place of the Nativity Trail (albeit on a much smaller scale).

We called it Flatpack Christmas, in the style of popular Swedish furniture, and the children were able to transform 2 flat sheets of card into their very own 3D nativity scene.  The template was drawn out for them, so all they needed to do was colour it in, decorate it, cut it out and stick it together.  They were also a brief outline of the Christmas story amongst the instructions with information on how to request a free book about Christmas from a Christian perspective.
 
The aim of this project was for church members to be able to use the craft activity to engage with friends, family and neighbours in the local area who wanted to know a bit more about the hope that we have in Jesus, why we celebrate Christmas and who we are as Grace Church Stirchley. 

This Christmas saw Birmingham under Tier 3 of the government’s local restrictions, which significantly impacted how we could interact with people around us.  We have seen how social media has played a big part in communities coming together to support one another this year and we therefore created a competition to encourage people to post about Flatpack Christmas online.

Families posted pictures of their creations using #flatpackchristmas in the description box and the top 5 nativity scenes won a prize.  The prize included a book about Christmas, a family board game and hot chocolate, marshmallows and a selection of chocolate treats that hopefully made for a fun, family evening together.  We hoped that the more people that posted photos to enter the competition, the more people saw the activity and would want to get involved.

 
 

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We created a video that acts acted both an advert and a guide to do the craft and we are encouraging people to share that online too.

We have also posted the video on a number of appropriate local Facebook groups created for the Stirchley and Cotteridge area to try to reach people that we aren’t connected to through mutual friends.  Through these methods, we hope that lots of people heard about the Flatpack Christmas craft activity and about our hope in Jesus.
 

For more information about Grace Church Stirchley please see:
www.gracestirchley.org