December 13, 2011

Our Very Own Christmas Special

Here's a guilty pleasure: Christmas specials. 

I like them on TV (Rudoph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas come to mind) and I especially like them as desserts. "I'll have five of Santa's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies, thank you very much." 

This is why I was pretty excited when Nancy asked me to pull together a Christmas special for ECF Vital Practices. And though ours is lacking in chocolate, Charlie Brown, and Vince Guaraldi's jazz, I hope that what you'll find below speaks to you as you wait and hope for God's presence to be born once again into our world. 

Feed the Poor or Fix the Roof
“The boiler had stopped working during the Christmas Eve service, when the temperature hovered around 18 degrees...” In the parable of St. Tiffany’s-in-the-Fields, Dan Austin describes a difficult dilemma that many churches face: feed the poor or fix the roof? Click here to read this story. 

Who was St. Nick?
Looking for creative ways to reclaim "the reason for the season" in your congregation? Richelle Thompson and Jim Rosenthal share ideas and resources for congregations looking to present a more in-depth look at St. Nicholas. In St. Nicholas: Connecting Past and Present, Richelle describes her parish's annual St. Nicholas Day celebration. And in St. Nicholas Day Resources, Jim Rosenthal shares tools for offering an in-depth look at Santa.

Getting ready for Christmas visitors:
Prepare the Way for Visitors! From your homepage to hospitality team, is your congregation ready for visitors?
Advent Parish Checklist A full list of those critical end-of-year processes for Episcopal congregations.
Breaking Tradition Celebrating a faithful Christmas may mean breaking a few family traditions.

Getting ready for 2012:
New Year's Resolutions What can you do today to make the 2012 church year more manageable?
Make an Ask this New Year's Eve Dec 30 and 31st are big days for online giving.
I Do My Filing Once A Year... Why on earth have an Advent Filing Retreat?

Make a Gift to ECF Vital Practices
Thanks to you, ECF Vital Practices is quickly becoming a center for congregational leaders throughout the Episcopal Church. But there is so much more to do! We need your help to bring about big plans for 2012. Please consider making a financial contribution today to sustain what we have begun together and allow us to serve you in the New Year.