Churches got creative this past year. Spotlight stories covered unique ways members got the word out about their churches, unique ideas for promoting environmental stewardship, and unique events to bring the community together. Here are just a few Spotlight stories that appeared during the past year that may inspire your church to try something new.
First Congregational Church in Norwood promoted vacation bible school and shared the
children's exuberance via music videos. The result was a fun, inspiring, promotional 4-minute video that was uploaded to YouTube and the church's Facebook page, among other sites.
QR Barcodes were printed on the back of Congregational Church of Topsfield service orders to retrieve supplementary resource information about the sermon using smart phones or an iPad® as an interactive way of worshiping.
During one Advent, the Congregational Church of Belchertown, UCC told a piece of the Christmas story each day in 140 characters or less using Twitter; during the next Advent, the story was told via YouTube. The Belchertown church also came up with a web-accessible version of an Advent Calendar that housed video clips and messages.
Armed with safety goggles, gloves, an ax, and signed liability waiver forms, members of Centre Congregational Church, UCC, in Lynnfield could spend a dollar per swing and smash an old car to relieve frustration while donating to a favorite organization. Two hundred fifty dollars later, the car was towed to a junkyard and enough money was raised to purchase a water buffalo for Heifer International.
For five Tuesdays during Lent, members from the Townsend Congregational Church, UCC,joined other churches in town and held a faith-sharing program at a local bar and grill. This "Lord's Brew" program gave participants a chance to engage in some good ecumenical relationship-building in a relaxed way.
What better way to reach out to young families and show love for the community than to welcome them with a giant sparkly heart of kindness on Valentine's Day. Houghs Neck Congregational Church in Quincy invited girls from preschool to grade 5 to dress up and enjoy tea, sweets, crafts and activities at a special Valentine Princess Tea.
The First Congregational Church, UCC, of Oxford made their environmental stewardship quite visible by lining their walkways with a 'Share Garden.' All of the harvest was donated weekly to the community's Ecumenical Food Shelf.
First Parish Church of Newbury brought together local organic community gardeners, chicken co-op shareholders, eco artists, church congregants, community supported agriculture growers and shareholders, and food and environmental organizations to model a sustainable community through inspiring a conscious, caring relationship to the earth and to each other.
The United Church of Christ, Congregational, Burlington managed to take something that one would normally sit on, and turn it into something one would normally put on. They put discontinued upholstery samples to good use by sewing them into stoles and keeping them out of landfills.
Has your church done some unique things to raise money, reach out to the community, help the earth, grow membership, or promote fellowship? Tell your story and help fellow members across the Commonwealth gather ideas that can be used in their own churches. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you've been doing at your church.
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