What to do in an outside Church Service.

In case you missed it. It seems that Churches can now sing outside again. In fact, The Church of England have released a load of information about outside worship is found here.

As singing outside in a crowd could appear different to some, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to remember when hosting an outside Church worship service.

  1. Make sure your dressed for the season. So therefore depending on the season, this could mean winter coat for when the sun is behind a cloud, and shorts / T-shirt for when the sun is out.
  2. A two meter stick. Because you know…
  3. Have multiple garden heaters, because it gets cold.
  4. Ensure the worship leader knows that this isn’t a dry run for early morning worship at the next Church approved Big Christian Conference.
  5. Make sure there is a big sign asking EVERYONE to bring an umbrella, because rain. Particularly important in Manchester.
  6. Don’t expect to go get a pie, pint, or pizza at half time. But MY WORD. That should be a thing in all churches. from now on.
  7. Wonder out loud if church should meet outside more often.
  8. Look after that one person who actually knows all the rules and regulations. Maybe offer them a strong coffee or something stronger to help steady their nerves.
  9. Pretend its Christmas. Bring Mulled Wine.
  10. Or in fact, if you’re meeting in a park, bring cheap cider. Because memories.

Anything we’ve missed out?

How To Do Church This Week

woman having a video call

Its a weekend in Lockdown. For many of us weekends include Church on the Sunday. During a pandemic, the act of going to a church building is far more complicated then ever.

Therefore may I present the Church Sofa List of Ways To Do Church during 2021:

  1. Put it on YouTube.
  2. Put it on YouTube, join in with the comments.
  3. Arrange to watch an online service at the same time as other Christians. Perhaps chat on WhatsApp at the same time.
  4. All gather via on Zoom, chat, pray, read a bible verse, talk about that bible verse.
  5. Give the national C of E “Daily Hope” number a call – 0800 804 8044
  6. Ask if you local church has a number to dial into.
  7. Give someone a call / drop them a message to say hi.
  8. Watch it on Facebook Live, join in with comments, share the video onto your feed?
  9. Live near someone from Church? How about dropping a card / chocolate / cake around?

Any other ideas?

What To Do In An Outside Carol Service

In case you missed it, it seems that English churches can allow outdoors singing in all tiers from December 2nd. According to the CofE website

Guidance published by the Government on Sunday confirmed that indoor singing by both amateur and professional choirs will be permitted, and that congregations could sing carols outdoors, providing they are physically distanced.

The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times.

Church of England

So. What should we be prepared for at an outside Christmas carol service?

Here are nine things you need at an outside carol service. (List includes affiliate links)

  1. Layers. Lots of. Wear something like this.
  2. Really Big Bonfire (To enable social distancing)
  3. Bring Mulled Wine.
  4. Have lots of really small bonfires. (To help enable social distancing)
  5. Wonder out loud if church should meet outside more often.
  6. Avoid being burned on the bonfire for wondering the above out loud.
  7. Ensure a good view of the vicar by bringing this guy along.
  8. A measuring stick to ensure social distancing.
  9. No – bring more mulled wine then that.

Anything I’ve missed.

Alternative – Socially Distanced – Christmas Service Ideas

Once upon a time. In a simpler pre-covid age, Sofa wrote a little thing about Alternative Christmas Service Ideas, and as a post. Its fine. You can argue some of it could be adjusted for a socially distanced church service, but… some of them might take work.

With that in mind, may I present* the Church Sofa…

Alternative – Socially Distanced – Christmas Service Ideas…

  1. Ok. Lets face it. Inviting a group of people anywhere may not be the best the thing to do right now. So – lets bring it to the people. Find a heavily pregnant lady and ask her to walk around the local streets. Knocking on peoples door, asking if theres any room in the inn.
  2. Add a hassled husband into the mix.
  3. Have a live donkey with them as well. Don’t forget to walk the long donkey up to the house whilst they are being asked if there is any room. Bonus points if the donkey leaves any “bonus” gifts on the door step. It will add to the atmosphere.
  4. Have a socially distanced choir follow the couple and donkey.
  5. Livestream a Christmas reading. Just outside the open window to a labour ward. See if any “bonus sounds” get picked up.
  6. Live stream a reading of the shepherds, in the light of a camp fire. Possibly on the church carpert. Granted someone on the PCC / a Deacon / Church Wardens, may come after you, but the young people will love it. Besides. It might be a while until anyone notices.
  7. Do you normally have a midnight service? Try and have drop a little bottle of port around everyones houses. See if anyone has it by the time the service starts.
  8. Is there anyone pregnant in your church? Get them to change their Facebook name to “Mary”, then a few days before encourage her say she has to go on a journey… and the travel arrangements aren’t great.
  9. Raise money for Sofa to make the Christmas Carol Service Bingo Card – an app. Therefore cutting down on paper being given out to people.
  10. Its Christmas. Its not cancelled! Its a time of celebration! Live stream fireworks being set off! Just dont have the donkey involved with it.

*Some of this might actually get you arrested, or result in a fire or something… The Sofa doesn’t take any responsibility – for anything – let alone the internet getting into trouble.

Are there any you would add?

How Christians Spend The Extra Hour

Surprise! We have another hour of 2020 to live through. With the clocks going back we all have the gift of time, so, what are we going to do with that gift?

What are you going to do with that extra hour? Here are a few Christian responses to the clock change.

  1. Think about praying and reading the Bible.
  2. Make that bacon sandwich you’ve been meaning to make before church actually starts.
  3. Work on that outside chapel you’ve been planning.
  4. Go for a run. (Just kidding.)
  5. Scroll through Facebook. Plan to pray for the people you see.
  6. Read a book about how to manage your time well.
  7. Realise that the Bible talks about rest in a positive way, and stay in bed. (To those parents out there, I’m sorry).
  8. Drink coffee, stare into space whilst contemplating life. For an hour. Rock back and forth a little.
  9. Rock up early to in person church, when quizzed, reassure people that you are just more Holy then them. (Don’t do this if you’re joining on line. Just. Don’t)
  10. Eat a mince pie for Breakfast. Tweet about it.
  11. Hide in bed. Write a silly blog post. (That, with an ounce of planning, would have meant said blog post would have been released on Friday).

What would you add?

Autocorrected Hymns

Autocorrected Church Hymns. When Church Hymns meet Autocorrect

Imagine, somewhere out there, someone is typing up some hymns to be sung at Church. The Sofa family once used Microsoft Publisher for this, and occasionally… mistakes were made. (Don’t worry, someone in the church family lovingly pointed it out)

What if, someone typed up church songs and hymns, while depending on autocorrect?What would autocorrected church hymns look like? (Or at least the chorus anyway…)

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wrench like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see

O lord my god
When I in awesome wonderful
Consider all the people they’re hands have made
I see the attached
I hear the rolling thunder
They’re power throughout the universal displayed

Holler holler holler
lord god almighty
Early in the morning our song shall raise to thee
Holler holler holler
Mercifully and mighty
God in three persons,
Blessings trinity

Blessings for the lord
Oh my days oh my gosh
Worship his holy Bible
Sing like never beforehand, o my soul
I’ll worship your holy name

Yesterday, today’s, and foreign?
You are the same, you never change,
Yesterday, today’s, and foreign?
You are faithful, cor well trusting you.

Be thought my vision
O lord of my hearts
Naughty be all else to me, save that thou artist
Thought my best though by day or by nights
Waking it sleeping
Thy presences my Lightyear

With thanks to unlocking the bible for hosting plenty of lyrics.

10 Things to do With Old Bible Study Notes

Can I talk Bible Studies for one moment? Or at least Bible Study notes? It feels like a product of another time, but our Church went through a time when we were all given bible study booklets for each new study we did in homegroups.

We have built a little collection of Bible study notes over the years, and have had a conversation about what to do with them.

Here’s the list of ideas that we’ve not agreed on.

  1. Build a fort
  2. Create a sheltered passage way to church*.
  3. Build an army of paper plans.
  4. Write down your answers, go back and look at them in a years time. Get hung up on how you got to that answer.
  5. Cut them up and use them as wrapping paper this Christmas.
  6. Use them as conversation starters with your church leader.
  7. Give them as gifts to your neighbours.**
  8. Keep them long enough for your Church to use them again. Use previous notes to appear really clever and that you know what you’re talking about.
  9. Do you host the bible study at home? (You know… when Coronavirus isn’t a thing). Do you need to do some decorating? Are you after some wrapping paper? You know what to do…
  10. Roll them all up, and tape them together. Creating some sort of scriptural flavoured social distancing enforcer bat. 

Any other ideas I should add?

*For when it’s safe and sensible to go back obviously…

** I didn’t say these would make you popular.

Should I go to that Church Thing? (The September update)

Back when this Covid thing first started, Sofa tried to be helpful, and created a flowchart for people to follow to help decide if they should go to a church thing or not. (This was back when Church things were a… thing*).

So… I figured I would try an “updated version”.

It may have ran out of my control a little bit…

*For whats its worth, a lot of others things were also a “thing” back then! (EG. Pints inside, eating out… and warm…, questionable hand hygiene etc)