Winter St Luke’s Families Resources

Winter Newsletter

November, December, January and February

Welcome to the first of a quarterly resource update with (hopefully!) helpful links to some carefully selected resources and ideas which you might like to use at home as you support your families to come to faith and grown in faith. 

Thanksgiving

In November, I’m grateful for the American tradition of Thanksgiving! It doesn’t have to be about Pilgrim Fathers and turkeys; just having a regular time set aside to be grateful for all the goodness in our lives is brilliant. 

Why not get a pumpkin and as a family, write down all the things you are grateful for? 

You might already do this, but how about saying grace before each meal to express your gratitude for the food you have? There are some creative ideas about how you might engage your family in doing this here: https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/christenings/after-christening/things-do-children-autumn/saying-thank-you-food

Muddy Church

As the days become more chilly, maybe you enjoy getting out and about in the crisp weather (there’s no shame in being motivated by the reward of a hot chocolate afterwards!). Muddy Church have some great outdoor Challenges which you might enjoy doing: https://www.muddychurch.co.uk/_files/ugd/921837_08a176a2c2464741892e2dfe99489b24.pdf

Another way of helping you and your family to engage with God’s wonderful creation is to go on a Scavenger Hunt to really engage with your surroundings. This one from the Kitchen Table project is excellent with lots of helpful questions to spark discussion and wonder:  Kitchen Table Project | Resources (Seasons of Change/Beauty in Winter Scavenger Hunt) 

Reverse Advent Calendar

We had a tremendous response to our Harvest Festival food bank collection last month which was fantastic, but sadly there is still a great need for provisions in our local community. 

Perhaps you could do a reverse advent calendar? Maybe you could team up with another family to do it? The idea is that each day, you can get something off the list an add it to a bag/ box that you can deliver to Maidstone Day Centre Monday to Friday between 8am and 1.30pm (Maidstone Day Centre, Knightridger Street, Maidstone, ME16 6LP. Tel: 01622 674064) by the middle of December so that they can use your donations to support their work with families who need extra support in the local area and the homeless who they help. 

Currently there is a particular need for: 

Microwave Rice (Plain), Tinned Vegetables, Tinned Ham, Corned Beef, Tinned Potatoes, Meat Puddings in a tin, Milk (long life/UHT), Spam, Fray Bentos Pies, Tinned Ready Meals (eg: Beef Stew, Bolognaise, Curry etc), Fruit Juice (cartons), Instant Mashed Potato, Tea Bags, Coffee, Pasta Sauce, Biscuits, Jam, Marmalade, Hot Dogs (tins/jars), Sugar, Rice Pudding, Custard, Tinned Fruit, Toilet Rolls, Deodorant, Sanitary Products, Baby Food, Nappies (all sizes), Baby clothes, Razors, Shampoo, Shower Gel/Foam and Dog/Cat Food. 

If an item a day is not possible, we are still collecting at the back of church so please do continue to leave donations there too.

You might also like to create a family Advent calendar with different reflections for each day of the Christmas Countdown. You can print it out, double-sided, then cut out the cards and hang them on a string, use a pin board, or stick them to the wall with decorative tape. Whatever works best for you. Using the weekly themes of Advent:  Hope, Peace, Love and Joy each weekday you will be prompted by a moment of ‘Wonder’. Saturdays are all about family fun, so you’ll find an activity everyone can enjoy together, while Sundays are an opportunity to cozy up and enjoy some thoughtful Sabbath rest:

Advent_Calendar_2023.01.pdf (mcusercontent.com)

Toy Donations

Just a reminder that if you are planning a pre-Christmas sort out of your children’s toys/games please can you consider donating them to the Kid’s Groups at Church? We could really do with some different toys and games that can help the children to build relationships in their groups on a Sunday morning. So if you have any un-wanted but good condition items that might be used, please do pop them on the back bench in church where I will distribute them to the right groups. If we have more than we need, I will take them to a local charity shop so that nothing will be wasted. 

Christmas Challenges

Whilst everyone around you might be getting excitedly geared up for Christmas, perhaps you are not. There can be many reasons why this might be a less-than-jolly time of year for you and your family. This article has lots of thoughtful ideas about how you might be able to deal with this time of year, without feeling burdened by the weight of expectation from others:

Advice for Christmas – Care for the Family

You might be experiencing the pinch when it comes to rising costs, you are certainly not alone in this. Care for the Family have put together a really helpful list of suggestions which can help you and your loved ones to still have a great Christmas without breaking the bank. If finances are a concern for you, please do get in touch with Laura or Gareth confidentially as we may be able to offer assistance. 

A guide to Christmas on a budget – Care for the Family

New Years Resolutions

Looking ahead to January and the start of 2024…how do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? Whether you are a fan of making (and breaking!) them, maybe it’s a good time to have a think about a few simple, everyday tweaks that can make a big difference to our children developing in their faith.

So in 2024 what small habit could you introduce? Make it a realistic resolution! Life gets busy and doesn’t always go to plan, but by practicing little habits relatively regularly, you can make a big difference.

God is understanding and gracious, even when we get it wrong or forget, and He will also help us to inch closer to forming those good and influential habits.

There are some great ideas here about how we can gently model our faith to our family members: 

As ever, if you do ever want to chat or know of any great resources that you think would be helpful to other families at St. Luke’s, please do get in touch. You can catch me at Church or use the contact us form.

Praying on for you and your family over this Winter Season that you will continue to grow closer to each other and in your faith,

Laura 😊

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