Alongside Open House, we’ve been trying a new way of sharing faith and growing the church, and we have found that the two have overlapped in surprising ways. We were aware of just how difficult it was for unchurched families to connect with faith. We wanted to develop imaginative ideas for sparking curiosity, and engaging people with faith that would create lasting memories. We have been able to make use of our children’s centre, the World of Wonder, with hobbit hole, treehouse, bounce room and theatre stage. We have run three major events last year to spark curiosity: the Christmas Lost Message of Jesus, the Narnia Trail and the World Explorers Trail.

 

Narnia Trail

We designed the Narnia Trail (with permission from the CS Lewis Company) to retell the CS Lewis story of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The trail took families round eight scenes from inside Narnia, with a passport to stamp along the way. We hired a giant 7ft Aslan from a theatre company (which we have recently bought and now own), and a professional actor came to play the role of Mr Tumnus.

It was amazing to see families being invited to take their seats on the thrones, and dress as kings and queens of Narnia. One older lady (who leads a difficult life as a full-time career), shared afterwards how different she felt wearing the queen’s robe and crown—she said it made her feel special. We were able to affirm this and take photos to remind her that she was indeed very special and precious.

 

World Explorers Trail

“Discover the secrets of DNA, the mystery of human consciousness, and how trees communicate with one another. Explore the fine-tuned Universe in our hobbit sized planetarium, try experiments in science, and become part of the animal kingdom in our giant world of soft toys”.

 

Earlier this year, we booked a farm to visit the church, and we found that some of the children had never seen live animals before. Living in an inner city, families can be quite disconnected from the world and nature. So, we designed this World Explorers Trail for children and families to experience the wonder and beauty of the world and universe in which we live.

The children dressed up as explorers with maps and magnifying glasses. The trail led them to 10 tiny fairy doors with quotes from well-known scientists that raised questions of mystery, awe and wonder at the world’s existence.

 

Winter Wonderland – the Lost Message of Jesus 

Here was our message to everyone who attended…

We hope that you’ll feel welcomed and included in the greatest story ever told!

Have fun exploring the different scenes from ancient Rome and Palestine.

 

Everyone was given an illustrated book, based on these themes…

The Powers of Rome and Religion

A shocking revelation

Born into power? Born out of love

A message to the despised

Revolution is in the air

God’s kingdom – not some future heaven, but a present reality

 

The answers to the treasure trail…

He had no servants, yet they called him Master.

He had no degree, yet they called him Teacher.

He had no army, yet kings feared him.

He had no medicines, yet they called him Healer.

He was buried in a tomb, yet he lives today.

In him, the good news of God’s Kingdom has come at last.

The lost message of Jesus is that we are all welcome, loved and included by God.