Eagle Day

This item gives an idea for a day using birds of pray to stimulate thinking about Isaiah 40:31 Download eagle day.pdf

Dinosaur Sunday

This provides some ideas for Dinosaur Sunday, also called Evolution Sunday. This can happen at any time of the year, but is usually associated with the Sunday nearest Charles Darwin’s birthday: 12thFebruary. You might want to do this event this summer or you might want to ‘think ahead’ and plan for next February (2012) in which case best start now! Download Dinosaur Sunday.pdf

Photos of Dinosaur Sunday

Holiday Evangelism

This document contains ideas, information and stories about how churches in holiday areas might reach out to visitors. Download Holiday Evangelism.pdf

Meditation for Summer

Here is a meditation on Matthew 14:22-33 that you might like to use at a summer event. Download meditation for summer.pdf

Pentecost Prayer Stations

Here is another of Dave Croaker’s Prayer Stations, this time designed for Pentecost. There is a set up file and also a booklet for participants. Download Prayer Stations Pentecost – setup.pdfDownload Prayer Stations Pentecost.pdf

Eagle Soaring Prayer

To provide some reflection and meditation on the theme of Eagle Soaring Prayer for use by individuals or small groups.

Download Eagle soaring prayer.pdf

Prayers from Holy Island

Occasionally there is a numinous quality to the air on Holy Island and the sense of it brings an apprehension of the Spirit who pervades all created things.

As this piece developed the idea of the Pentecost Spirit as the prodigal father took shape. Scandalously throwing aside all dignity he welcomes the home comers after thousands, maybe millions, of years of dwelling at a distance.

Download prayers from Holy Island.pdf

There are 3 photos to accompany this item below. They are all in jpg format. To download, left-click the thumbnail below and then right click the picture and select “Save image as” or “Save picture as” and choose the folder where you wish to save the image.

Prayer and the Holy Spirit

A biblical reflection and prayer on the Holy Spirit as the agent of prayer, for use by individuals or small groups.

Download prayer and holy spirit.pdf

Prospects for Ascension

Here are three items for use with people of all ages and abilities based around the bible story of the man lowered through the roof: some ‘let me tell you’ stories, a bible study and some suggestions for prayer.

Download Prospects for Ascension.pdf

Understanding our Father

To help us understand better that the One we are praying to is a loving Father who delights in us and wants the very best for us. You can use this with a group or individually.

Download Understanding our Father.pdf

Leadership and prayer

This document is a complete outline for a small group like a House or Cell Group on the theme of Leadership and Prayer. The purpose of this session is to enable group facilitators to help participants feel comfortable engaging with and using prayer naturally.

Download Leadership and prayer.pdf

Windrush God: affirming diversity

Inviting an exploration of the Pentecost event (Acts 2:1-13) as an affirmation of the Christian community as a welcoming and diverse space for all and the implications for the content of our prayers.

Download Windrush God.pdf

Praying with prodigals

This material can be used individually, in a group or as the basis of a service. It deals with our approach to praying for those who are marginalised.

Download praying with prodigals.pdf

Praying in the Spirit

This study explores what the Apostle Paul meant by the phrase to “pray in the Spirit” and to see what we might learn about going deeper in our relationship with God as we engage in things which are spiritual and therefore outside of our experience in the physical world.

Download Praying in the Spirit.pdf

One popular feature of reality TV is the video diary through which ordinary people are able to record their experiences and responses to being minor celebrities for a short time. In this activity we combine a number of things to record our ordinary experiences of Holy Week as Jesus disciples, our memories of then and our thoughts for now, using the medium of a video diary. This activity can be done by an individual or a group.

Create your own diary using video or other media to think through the events of Holy Week, Pentecost or any other time of the year

Download the video diary worksheet (pdf)

The sample video diary below is based on the cross – press the play button

The process of renewing the Church

lawrence_moore_webLawrence Moore

There are times when the URC behaves like a Church desperately in search of a programme. “If only we can find the right programme, then our problems will be solved!” people seem to say.  It’s as though there’s something – just one, key thing that we’re either doing and need to stop doing, or aren’t doing and need to start.  But if we can just find that key thing, then everything will suddenly – and gloriously – be alright again.  We’ll find our Junior Churches full.  We’ll have young people and young families.  We’ll have people queuing up to play the organ and do the flowers and hand out hymn books.  We’ll have to have stewards on standby every Sunday to be ready to put extra chairs out.  The notice sheet will be covered with so many different mid-week activities that we’ll have to make the font as small as possible to fit it all on the page.  You recognise what I’m saying, don’t you?  These are the hopes of virtually “Anychurch URC” – in fact, of most Christian Churches in the UK.  And lo, along comes Vision4Life …

The problem is that people are pinning unrealistic hopes on Vision4Life because of a combination of habit and desperation: habit, because we look for “the right programme” in the same way we look for the right medicine to cure a health problem; desperation, because we’ve tried virtually everything and nothing seems to work!  So let’s have something out on the table from the outset: Vision4Life is not going to be the programme to succeed where other programmes have failed, because Vision4Life is not a programme but a process.

Look at the language that is being used: “transforming the URC”.  Transformation is a process.  It’s about the work of God in our lives – individually and collectively.  That is the work of the Spirit, whose coming we celebrated at Pentecost.  The Spirit is the Spirit of creation and re-creation (resurrection).  Transformation is all about God renewing us.

Vision4Life is about putting ourselves in the way of the Spirit – getting in touch with the sources of renewal.  To say, “Isn’t it a good idea to devote time to the Bible, prayer and evangelism?” is, on one level, to ask people to vote for mother’s milk and apple pie.  That’s not the question, however.  In asking every Church in the URC about their engagement with the Bible, prayer and evangelism, the real question is, “To what extent are you prepared to allow the Spirit of God to renew and transform you?”
That is a question for us all both as individuals and as Church communities.  We have chosen these three areas for focus because these are three fundamental areas of Christian discipleship.  They are thoroughly “Reformed”, too.  Think about it for a moment: we read the Bible not to find “rules for living” (or, in John Campbell’s words, as a “health & Safety Manual”), but because God has spoken in the past and is still speaking!  To “discover God’s Word, revealed in the Bible” is to hear the fresh, living, Life-giving Word that God speaks to us today.  God spoke – and creation came into being.  God speaks – and dead Churches burst into new life!
We pray because God speaks to us and listens to us.  Prayer is conversation – time spent with God.  Relationships wither and stagnate if there is no communication – nothing new to say or hear.  Prayer is about developing habits of intimacy with God: it is about the meetings in which we grow in relationship both to God and the world, and are renewed.

And evangelism?  I don’t know what you want to mean by that word, but at its heart, it is simply telling our stories of God.  It’s about gossiping the gospel – the Good News that God is intimately involved in our lives and in our world, saving and transforming them.  If that sounds rather grandiose, it needn’t be!  That boils down to the little ways (as well as the big ones!) in which we discover that to be true.  We’re good at gossip; ironically, we need to learn to gossip the Good News!  But when we do, we will find ourselves talking the language of transformation – and being transformed!
A process, not a programme.  Ultimately, though, it’s exactly what it says on the box: it’s a vision – a hope, a dream, something we commit ourselves to because we believe that God is still speaking words of Life that transform us and enable us to make a difference – for Christ’s sake.

This article first appeared in Carver URC Magazine