Visitors to this year’s Keynsham Winter Festival were invited to consider what they were waiting for this Advent using prayer prompts on a giant Advent Calendar.
Festival-goers were invited to take a numbered notes from panels relating to personal needs and longings expressed in transition, such as a new relationship, job or home, as well as for those seeking less stress, exam success or someone to love. They then placed that thought in a manger as a way of offering it to God. The person was then given a random Bible verse based on the theme of waiting. Booklets entitled ‘Try Praying’ produced by HOPE were also offered.
Mike Burke Missioner and Vicar at Keynsham Team Ministry and local Baptist Minister, Kevin Durrant were behind the idea. Mike says, “We didn’t have huge numbers of people flocking around but with those who came along we had some very helpful and interesting conversations about what people are longing for. Some were looking to move into the area, others were about to start a new business and so we promised to pray for them, whilst others seemed to appreciate the opportunity to talk, pause and consider where their life journey might be leading them. It was surprising how people found the Bible verses helpful and relevant to their situation and over a dozen booklets were given out.”
“Overall it was very positive. The calendar led to a number of very open and honest faith conversations arising with those outside of the church community and it was great to be able to do something ecumenically which also gave a positive message to the town.”