Events in 2013
Throughout Advent we lit the advent candle ring in Church and enjoyed singing Advent and Christmas carols. We held our very popular Christingle service around tea time one Sunday afternoon, setting the Church out café style. Everyone had the chance to make their own Christingle and all enjoyed tea and cakes serves their tables.
A group of our singers started rehearsing and led our singing at the Carol Service, held in the round, which was a different experience. Our Midnight communion was again well-supported and on Christmas Day we were absolutely RAMMED! It was great to have a full Church.
A special all-age and Parade service was held to receive all the shoeboxes for operation Christmas Child and gifts for local children and vulnerable adults. Our AFC support Group held a ‘Bucket shake’ collection at a local supermarket and raised a good sum. We also held the Annual Homewood (MHA) Christmas Fair in the Church hall, with a variety of stalls and refreshments and lunches served. The Town’s Mayor opened the fair.
Another successful Play and Praise afternoon was held, this time taking Waiting as its theme, using a variety of craft activities, without mentioning the C word once (we didn’t want to get the youngsters too excited about Christmas at this stage of the year).
This month we kicked off our Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign, with a special all age service, and the offer of easy-build, ready-decorated shoe boxes. Also this month our Action For Children (AFC) support group held a ‘Coffee and Cuttings’ morning to raise money for National and Local AFC funds.
This was our ‘get to know you’ month, with different events throughout September allowing people to meet and get to know each other, including a quiz and games night, bring and share lunch and meals out, culminating in our harvest festival on Back to Church Sunday.
Baptisms are a regular feature at Dale Street, but end of June and into July saw three come at once on successive Sundays.
Babies galore! And our new video projection system meant that everyone could see it all in close up!
Play and praise in the Dell had the simple theme of thanking God for the good things we share. We enjoyed outdoor games and had an abundant shared picnic.
We had an exhibition of Creation Quilts at Dale Street on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June 2013 during the Peace Festival.
Jackie Smith’s quilts are colourful, pictorial landmarks of her journey with God and a living message.
Two of our members saw them at Lindisfarne last year and found the beautiful quilts and accompanying poetry a peaceful and almost tangible experience of God’s presence.
In June, our circuit organised a day of prayer with different churches around the circuit offering a meal and a prayer activity. Dale Street teamed up with Radford Road Church to offer a prayer breakfast, held at Radford Road Church where bacon rolls and toast and marmalade were followed by a prayer focus being led by Dale Street folk.
Food and prayer go together so well!
Pentecost was celebrated in the morning with a ‘traditional’ service being held in Church, while at the same time an all-age Praise in Park service for all the Churches in Leamington was held on the Pump Room Gardens.
Official sources say that around 1,500 people attended.
In the evening at Dale Street we had a reflective service looking at ‘3 Women of the Gospels’, with three meditations brought to life by three Church women, each of whom also gave their own testimonies and chose a hymn or song. A wonderful evening! We must do this again!
Play and praise, an activity-based event for young families, continued the story of Jesus' life by thinking of his boyhood and how life was in those times.
Children shaped bread dough into rolls, wrote letters in sand, did simple carpentry and heard the story of Jesus in the temple.
Ev’ry night a star is
Right in sight a star is
Burning bright a star is born.
At Daley Sketches at the end of April over 180 stars were born.
This was our biennial treat when the young people from our Guide and Scout group entertain us.
The standard of speaking out was better than ever this year. We enjoyed a feast of colour, music and magic.
The Brownies in their “African Friends” updated us about where money from the 2011 show went.
They also made us feel full with “Make me some porridge”.
Thank you to our talented young people and their hard-working leaders.
This was another wonderful show and, if you missed it, make a note in your diary for the same time in 2015.
Holy Week and Easter 2013
Palm Sunday was celebrated with everyone processing into Church waving a small tree branch, with these being laid at the foot of our Lenten cross, and an all-age service following.
On Maundy Thursday we held a joint service at Dale Street with friends from Radford Road Church.
A long table was placed down the centre of the Church with congregation sitting in rows, either side of the table.
Towards the end of the service a scripted dialogue following the discourses in John’s gospel were enacted, which culminated in an invitation for everyone to draw their chairs to the long table to share communion, during which they served each other.
Good Friday was a reflective service at 10.30, everyone being given a red ribbon tied into a bow as they came into Church.
During the time of penitence all were asked to let the bow represent a sin, failing or obstacle in their life and to then hang the ribbon on the cross.
Some of us then went up to Christchurch Gardens in Leamington for a Churches Together in Leamington Service, which began by placing a cross in the ground at noon.
Around 150 folk gathered around the cross to worship and pray.
When people arrived in Church on Easter Sunday morning (after having breakfast in the Church hall) they found the Lenten cross now covered in white ribbon bows, not red ones, symbolising the washing clean of sins.
A lively all-age service followed with a packed Church!
Play and praise had the theme of Candlemas, which followed on well after the Christmas story.
After the waiting and hoping, the baby Jesus was recognised as the Messiah, a light to the world. Activities included making 'candles', wax resist painting revealing pictures and looking after babies in the home corner.
We held a traditional Ashing service on Ash Wednesday,
something not done at Dale Street for a long time.
It was a well-supported and much appreciated start to Lent.
Each Sunday throughout Lent a new symbol was introduced and hung on the Lenten Cross at the start of each morning service.
We started 3 new house groups for Lent, two in homes and one at Church.
We all used the same material, Love Life, live Lent. It came with a little booklet of daily thoughts, daily actions and prayers, which we enjoyed discussing and doing some of the ‘actions’ in the groups.
All found the material useful and challenging and one of the groups decided to continue meeting.
Also, one of our long-established house groups decided to use Lent study material based on the film of Les Miserables. Some very personal accounts of this study were then printed in our May issue of Family News.
As part of the STAR CHALLENGE begun last year, we staged the Christmas musical FOLLOW THE STAR, BY Jim Parker and Wally K Daly in the Church for two performances (afternoon and evening) on Saturday, 26 January 2013.
About 300 people saw the show.
FOLLOW THE STAR is a re-telling of the story of the birth of Jesus, told in pantomime style, which gave plenty of opportunity for audience participation as Herod was, of course, the villain, and his every appearance was greeted with loud booing – encouraged, by the cast! The angels were the ‘goodies’ and were cheered to the rooftops, particularly Gabby, a small angel, who had to do lots of good deeds in order to grow taller.
The rehearsal weeks were hard work, but much enjoyed by the mixed age cast of twenty, and a huge amount of work was done by the music director, other musicians, and, of course, the resourceful ‘backstage’ and technical team, who transformed the church into a well-lit and decorated performance space.
There is only one problem – WHAT DO WE DO NEXT?
Star Challenge 2012
In the summer of 2012, everyone was invited to take part in the Star Challenge.
They were urged to
- Start thinking
- Talk with others
- Ask and explore
- Start the journey…
… to follow the star as the wise men had done, seeing where it would lead them and what insights and discoveries they might make on the way which could help convey something of the Christmas message.
It resulted in a wide-ranging display to which all groups and ages contributed in their own way and in a variety of media.
One of many ideas was a daily tweet through Advent.
Other contributions included a profound power point presentation and a "performance art" video of music, dance and the spoken word.
There was a star prayer corner.
Original material was written.
People acknowledged the influence of their personal "stars" and others considered Biblical "stars".
Legends and customs were researched, games and quizzes devised and mathematical puzzles investigated.
One display showed a work in progress - part of a continuing journey.
The decorations on the tree and around the church mirrored the inclusivity of the theme and the creativity it inspired.
The exhibition was launched at an Open Afternoon in December and continued throughout the Christmas season.
It made an impression on the users of the building and many found it interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking.
The star theme was also explored in several services; the final one, at Candlemas, reflecting on the challenge and the ongoing journey.
... and in 2012