The Christmas Journey

An imaginative presentation for churches to use with primary schools

Moira Curry and Gill Morgan

Currently out of print £7.99

I recommend it to any church groups wishing to make a positive impact on their community.
Pastor Tim H Coad

Content

The Christmas Journey provides an exciting opportunity for church-based children's teams to perform a delightful, easy-to-do presentation to their local primary schools. Aimed at Year 2 children, the material gives pupils and teachers alike an enjoyable learning experience by unfolding the Christmas story through creative storytelling, simple drama, fun-filled puppetry and thought-provoking artefacts.

The book accompanies the website www.christmasjourney.org.uk. The material includes valuable information for preparing the church and school communities for the event, ideas for team-building, helpful hints concerning practical considerations, clear instructions for setting up and presenting the six story-based scenes, suggestions for follow-up assemblies and ideas for the classroom.

'As someone who came to the church after The Christmas Journey began, I see how it has impacted our community, impressing even school teachers who were ambivalent to the Christian faith. I recommend it to any church wishing to positively impact their community'
- Church Leader, Main Street Community Church

Find out more about what is needed to run the Christmas Journey, and read the report of Martyn Payne on the Christmas Journey

Endorsements

I recommend it to any church groups wishing to make a positive impact on their community.
Pastor Tim H Coad

Author info

Moira Curry has worked in primary education for over 25 years. Part of the church worship team, Moira is also a trained listener and tutor for Acorn Christian Healing Trust. Gill Morgan trained as a primary teacher with music as her main subject. Gill is also involved with a development programme for a village in Eastern Uganda.

Reviews

Reviewed by Churches Together in Keswick - December 2009

If you want to engage young children in a relevant and exciting way with the Christian faith you need look no further than the 'Christmas Journey' a book aptly subtitled 'an imaginative presentation for churches to use with primary schools', for that is exactly what it is.

The Christmas Journey began in 2004 as the brain child of Frodsham's Main Street Community Church in Cheshire. I spotted the idea a few years ago when mentioned on the BBC website as a news item. It grabbed my attention as it offered the opportunity to work with primary school children in a new a new way. I explored what happened at Frodsham through the website www.christmasjourney.org.uk which gave a good picture of how they did it. Children literally make a journey through a mixture of reflective and interactive rooms (gazeboes) using a variety of media approaches from Godly play, through puppets to dressing up/acting. Stops included creation, Mary's kitchen, a hillside near Bethlehem, the stable, the wise men's tent and a modern living room. All helped unpack the story of Christ and its relevance today and specially written song helps maintain continuity.

Now a book version of this excellent resource has been published containing the whole programme including every detail of scripting, layout, risk assessment etc included. I cannot recommend highly enough! We have just successfully run the event using this through the Churches Together in Keswick and Neighbourhood drawing a team together from across the churches. Not only was it positive and challenging for those who came on the journey but also all who worked together on the project. Buy it now and do it next year!! Simple and effective.

Reviewed by Peter Vivash, Churches Together in Keswick

Reviewed by Anne Offler - September 2009

The book was a well timed gift as I am intending to do an event like this this year. The book has saved me hours of planning as lots of it has been done for me!

I found the book very easy to read and understand. It was coherent in its approach to organising an event like this. The planning of each stage of the project is beautifully detailed and accessible to people in many settings as it is able to be adapted quite easily.

It works well as a Year 2 curriculum resource and I think will be a wonderful opportunity for church/school links to be established or strengthened. As a former Year 2 teacher myself I think the material is pitched at a good Year 2 level and will be greatly appreciated by Year 2 teachers. What better way for the Christian message of Christmas to be delivered in the school curriculum than by the Christians in the local church.

I found page 52, 'The Set', very useful as I had been struggling to think of ways to transform the church space I have available. The use of gazebos is so obvious but hadn't crossed my mind!

I also liked the 'route' of the Journey starting with Creation and ending with the time of reflection revealing some of what happened to that baby. I think it is good to make these links as the baby in the manger and the man on the cross are often see by children as totally unrelated! The use of the same storyteller for these sections seems to make so much sense too.

The description and script for each of the stations is clear and creates a good balance of detail about what happened in the story with opportunities for the children to wonder and respond.

The book is an excellent guideline, and more, to plan, prepare and invite schools to come and go on the Journey. Each team using the book in their setting will adapt it to suit them. As I have said it's clarity and adaptability is a great strength of the publication. I think I will most tinker with the timings as suggested on pages 24 and 25. I think the children may need more time at each station and I wonder if the team need a little more flexibility in allowing this time. The timetable given is the only part of the book that I found a little daunting!

The book is an excellent resource that I cannot wait to try and to encourage others to engage with. I am so looking forward to the Easter Journey! Thank you very much for being willing to share your material and enable me, and others, to engage with children using a quality outreach tool.

Reviewed by Anne Offler, Durham & Deerness Valley Circuit Children & Youth Development Worker.

From The Diocese of Birmingham Bishop's Adviser for Children's Ministry

A really useful book full of lots of advice and guidance on how to plan, prepare, organise and deliver an outreach event, based on the Christmas story. Such an undertaking might feel overwhelming but the book breaks it down into lots of doable tasks and the story in the introduction of how one church made it happen brings it to life. Particularly helpful is the advice given on how to work with other churches in your community to deliver such an event and how to build appropriate relationships with your local schools.

Comprehensive and detailed resources, scripts, scene setting and sample forms enable you to feel you've got everything you need to actually have a go. The use of Godly Play techniques and open wondering works particularly well and with the mixture of storytelling, visuals and activities mean there is something to appeal to every child.

The idea of beginning with creation and ending with the present day was interesting and not what you'd usually think of doing when you're telling the Christmas Story. However, it works very well and gives children an excellent picture of how the past, present and future are all intrinsically interwoven to help them make sense of the relevance of God in our lives today.

Part Three is valuable in helping churches see this as no just a one off event for outreach with local schools but as part of an ongoing relationship with lots of advice for follow up with both schools and families. A lovely addition at the end was the ideas for Advent and Christmas services both at church and in the school to follow up the school trip with the children and their families, helping to build lasting relationships.

Reviewed by Claire Wesley

From The Provincial Youth and Children's Officer - the Moravian Church of Great Britain and Ireland - September 2009

This book provides you with all the guidance you might need to do an outreach project to local schools for Christmas. It is aimed at school year 2 (ages 6-7) but could be adapted to suit all primary children and if required their families.

The journey includes not just the Christmas story but also creation and an overview of Jesus' life. The book guides you from the beginning of thinking about doing this project, through training helpers to the actual event. It includes a timetable of the actual 'journey', suggested floor plans for the scenes, how to organise a class of 30 so everyone gets to interact with the scenes, how to organise the day if you are having 4 schools attending and the materials required. There are tips about stage setting, getting children to your venue, and ideas for events and services afterwards. Additional resources are available from the linked website http://christmasjourney.org.uk/resources/

The book is based on one church's experiences and therefore has very practical ideas for staging the event. The admission by the author that they bought gazebos 'just in case' struck a chord with me as I often buy resources unsure of when, or if, I'll use them.

I would recommend this to any church that wants to offer something at Christmas to their local school. It is different from a service and would be suitable for use in a multi-faith setting.

Reviewed by Joy Raynor

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841016214
  • Published: 19 June 2009
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128
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