Christmas video 23: Nativity on the Overground

Accompanied by an indie-folk version of ‘In the bleak midwinter’, the traditional tale of the nativity is shown juxtaposed against the urban background of South-East London.

All Saints Peckham, a church in Southeast London, took to the iconic London Overground to stage this fun and experimental video.  Part flashmob, part timelapse, part street theatre, the goal was to retell the Nativity story with London as our backdrop.

Filmed (remarkably) in only one take on a fairly cold Saturday morning.

 

Christmas video 21: The Nativity in Sand

The Bible Society produced this video of sand artist Gert van der Vijver retelling the story of the Nativity in sand.  This is a great thing to watch in an all-age service:

 

Christmas video 20: The Scale and Morgan Freeman

This video, ‘The Scale’ is narrated by Morgan Freeman.  ‘The Scale’ leaves you wondering all the way through what he is talking about.  Only at the end to you get it, and yes it is very clever.  But more than that it is challenging and thought provoking too:

 

 

Best children’s Christmas story book

One of my favourite resources for the Christmas season is Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan.

Nicholas Allan writes and illustrates the nativity through the eyes of a grumpy inn keeper who is unexpectedly at the centre of Jesus’ birth.  The story follows him as he is woken up repeatedly by Mary and Joseph and guests visiting the newborn.

I first heard of the book when I was a child and it was used for a Sunday School drama to present the Christmas narrative to the whole church.  As a children’s and youth worker I’ve used it numerous times, be it with young pre-school children, older teenagers, or non-Christian adults.  The book is easy for people to follow and join in, and yet still allows for profounds truths to be taught.

It can be bought in a number of sizes – from A6 just to fit in the pocket and use to tell a large group of people, to a large A4 size which a class of children can crowd around and look at the pictures.

What children want for Christmas: a Dad

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survery of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

Christmas video 16: Shepherds, Wise Men and baby Jesus spoken word

Miriam Swaffield wrote these spoken word videos about the shepherds, the wise men and baby Jesus. They are brilliant, we’ve used them with our 11-14 year olds who’ve loved them.

Fusion have recorded them and made them available for FREE download here – you might want to use them in your services or youth events you’ve got planned.

What does a registered manager at a children’s care home do?

 

 

 

 

Great article from the Guardian, interviewing Zoey Lees, who is a registered manager at The Orchards, a children’s care home in Nottingham for five young people aged 11 to 18 who are on the autism spectrum:

We are just like a family and my day starts about 8am when I transport some of the children to school. Then I come back and do health and safety checks, paperwork and look at the rotas.

We have 21 members of staff so I do staff supervision, for example, go over some things with them and provide the opportunity for reflective practice. I also look at how we can move the service forward and the different schemes we could become involved in. It’s important to tackle the stigma surrounding learning disabilities, which is why community participation is vital. We start collecting the children from school at about 2pm. My attitude is that I can’t talk to staff about working with a young person if I don’t work with the child myself, so I do a lot of observational work.

We have a variety of after-school activities, such as music and Zumba; some children go skating, make contact with their family or go to Scouts. We want to teach children life skills, so they help make the evening meal, which we eat together at about 5.30pm.

After dinner, children choose their own activities until we get ready for bedtime; we may read a book with the child or talk about the events of the day, maybe give a hand massage to emphasise that we are winding down. The youngest child goes to bed at 7.30pm, the oldest at 10pm. I leave about 6pm, but I’m always on call.

Christmas video 14: Mary’s Song

Spoken Truth and the Bible Society have partnered together to tell the story of Mary’s journey to motherhood in a 21st century setting.  Mary’s Song is a spoken word poem and original song – enjoy!

I’ve used it with a couple of groups of non-Christian young people who I work with who really enjoyed exploring the themes from it.  Download the videos or the sheet music for free from here.