Thursday, 17 November 2011

Christmas Present

Christmas Present

Ordinary People - Ordinary Places  - Extraordinary Story

Christmas lights going up in  Knaresborough
Last year I heard a friend talk about a Christmas photo project that he put together. You can read about it on his blog . This got me and a local Methodist minister thinking about whether we could do something similar here in the North East. They did it slightly different to us in that their images were in 3D and they had them up in one place, but other than that it’s basically the same idea.

We have taken a series of photos of local people, in local settings from the North East, who take on the persona of some of the key characters in the traditional nativity story.  Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, the Magi, angels, shepherds etc. We will be placing these pictures in public spaces for people to view, and we have agreed to have some put up in our local Costa Coffee in Whitley Bay and other local cafes/bars. Then, in the final week before Christmas, we are putting all the photos together in one place for people to view.  The pictures will be on display from the first week in December in various places, look out for the connected flier, and they will also be able to be seen in the weeks to come on my blog.

Alongside this, we got together with a few creative folk to put some worship material together that will be used around a different image on each Sunday through Advent. So if you live nearby to North Shields and Whitley Bay why not invite a friend to come along to church with you and see what it’s all about.  Also over the four weeks in advent I will be posting something each week which relates to one of the pictures we have taken.

The idea behind this is about engaging our local community with the traditional Christmas story in ways that ask the question... what do you do with this story?  This project is about putting the nativity story in a modern context and I suppose asks a challenging question about what do we do with the traditional story that God came to earth as a small vulnerable baby. Why not, as you view the pictures, ask these questions

Is Christmas present for you?

What is Christmas wrapped up in for you? 


  1. This sounds great, Rob, and I'd love to get some (more) of my blog readers finding out what you're doing. Would you like to join in my Pause in Advent? Details here:

    Over the last two years it's been a really good way of sharing Christmas ideas (Christian, generally spiritual or other) on the net. It would be great if you wanted to get involved.

  2. Great idea, Rob. I'll try and come along sometime when I know where they will be. I'll be very interested in the response. I also like the idea of setting up a nativity scene in teh market place and asking people if they want to get dressed up as one of the characheters and get their photo taken.Think it come from the Baptist Church.

    I've also just read your previous post and wanted to add that I see some fresh expressions( for want of a better word) as beginning with the thought of finding stillness and opportunity to experience God be creating a safe place, and then others who do the community and relastionship building first but then move into a more experiential place.. but I think that movement needs to be intentional - initiated by someone. I think it is about seeing God in all things and helping people acknowlege that there is no need to have a sacred / secular divide.
    There are some great postcards around for people to hold and reflect on an dthen talk about which may be of use in a pub setting.

  3. Great idea this Rob. Will have to come across and have a look. Are you releasing details of where exactly they will be?