An immersive experience bringing the nativity story to life for children to discover the true meaning of Christmas
Cowplain Evangelical Church, Portsmouth ran a very successful and popular Nativity Tour in 2017. In December 2019 they decided to host it again. Thanks to the help of Scripture Union's 'Good News Fund' the team were able to deliver another quality Nativity Tour sharing the meaning of Christmas with 610 children from four different schools and 190 members of the public.
"We transformed our large church hall into a labyrinth maze and split it into seven zones. Our visitors began their nativity journey in our Christmas Lounge, where Pastor Phill asked people what Christmas meant for them. Many of the answers were linked to Father Christmas, presents and food. This gave Pastor Phill the opportunity to introduce the real meaning of Christmas and the birth of Christ. There was much excitement as people realised that a false fireplace had been installed in the Christmas Lounge and everyone was invited to crawl through it to continue their Nativity Tour journey by entering the Bible Zone.
"In the Bible Zone, everyone was introduced to the Bible, the fact that it is the largest selling book of all time and the importance of the message within its 66 books. From the Bible Zone the maze led to the Angel Zone. This Zone was a blacked out room with UV angels painted onto the walls, our visitors were introduced to the importance of the work of the angels during the nativity story. After the Angel Zone there followed a Shepherd Zone and a Magi Zone where actors dressed up as these biblical characters. The actors were ‘interviewed’ by Pastor Phill to share what their experience of the birth of Christ might have been like.
People were then welcomed to meet Mary and Joseph in the penultimate zone, where they learned ‘first-hand’ what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph to hear from Angel Gabriel that Mary was carrying the Son of God, their subsequent journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus Christ in a stable. Pastor Phill then linked this zone to our final zone, which consisted of three large wooden illuminated crosses, where people learnt of the important connection between Christmas and Easter.
"On leaving the Nativity Tour everyone was given a Gideon Bible and a copy of Diary of a Disciple where they could learn more about the life of Jesus for themselves."
"Many of the staff commented that it was the best they had ever seen. Even today, almost a week after their visit, children are still talking about the Nativity Tour"
"Thanks to Scripture Union's Good News Fund we were able to pay for items that were needed to set up the labyrinth. This included industrial fencing that was used to create the structure of the maze and each zone within it. We were able to order the 800 books required to be given to each visitor. It also contributed hugely to the cost of hiring coaches, which were used to transport children from three of the schools."
Since the Nativity Tour Cowplain Evangelical Church have been able to increase their presence and activities within a local school and they have received lots of positive feedback from children and members of the community who were impacted by their experience.
The Good News Fund
Facilitating new mission to the 95