I’m not sure about you, but I began the year by clearing up Christmas. Nativity outfits, Christmas crafts and glitter. SO much glitter everywhere. But it did give me a chance to think about all the amazing things that happened here at St Mark’s over the Advent period.
I want to take this opportunity on behalf of all the leadership team to thank every single one of you who gave so many extra hours to make Advent and Christmas at St Mark’s wonderful.
We started December with our 24 hours of prayer, where we invited our parish to the services here at St Mark’s – over 5 thousand leaflets posted and delivered. We had a church-full at our Christingle service - with visitors from the uniform groups - which I must say was a lot of fun, if not completely chaotic! That was followed by two Carol services on the 18th and then, the following week, a Crib service, Midnight service and finally the main event – Christmas Day.
What many of you won’t realise is the amount of children who heard the Christmas story in their schools: 3 primary schools in our parish are visited on a regular basis by members of our leadership team and it was great to hear their answers and their knowledge of the story of Christmas. We even welcomed one of the schools to church, where they performed their Christmas plays - 200 children and their families. It was amazing to see and a great way for the children and families in our community to be welcomed into our building.
The Crib service was jammed packed with 150 parents, carers and children. Along with some cheeky camels, a very handsome donkey and a couple of angels - courtesy of Puppet Tree. We retold the story of Christmas in rhyme, (something I have not done for the blog, but maybe next time?!) and then the children had the opportunity to go into the stable and have their picture taken. There was an amazing atmosphere in the building and the children really engaged and enjoyed the service.
We also had a lot of fun in SMKK just before Christmas, acting out the story of Christmas and then having a lot of fun bouncing on a ginormous bouncy castle – here is Theodore enjoying the perks of his mum being the children’s worker... Back to the glitter and sorting.
I always find when the decorations are taken down and the nativity is put away the place looks a bit empty. This is not the case however with our church. The number of children who are a part of St Mark’s family is growing and over the next year will hopefully continue to do so.
I am very excited about the new opportunity for primary aged children to become part of something wider than St Mark’s. We will be inviting our children to join ‘Shout’, a kids club run by children’s workers from across Chester, where there will be opportunity to make new friends, worship God, have fun and potentially end up in the gunge tank!!
We will be looking at how living with Jesus can change everything in SMKK over the next few months – a new way of life, a new understanding and a new perspective. We are beginning the New Year thinking about how we can live with Jesus every day – not just on a Sunday, but having a relationship with him where we want to spend time talking to him every day because he is our friend, our guide and our King.
If anyone has seen or heard about any of the children’s activities that take place at church, or in the wider community and would like to come and be part of this, please do come and talk to me or one of the leadership team.
I ask that you will remember the children of St Mark’s, and the wider community in your prayers over the coming year and I am very much looking forward to seeing what God will do in our children in 2017.