St Margaret’s in Rainham, has reached hundreds of children with a concept called “Christmas in a Box”.
Each comes with a magazine, helping parents plan activities with a strong Christian focus each day, with a guide to the parish’s services.
They also contain items such as rocks for a Nativity display and sweets used in prayer-based activities.
At just £9.94 per box, having been funded by a grant from the Diocese of Rochester, the boxes have been warmly received by families in the parish.
“Facebook has just lit up with comments and photos,” said Revd Nathan Ward, vicar of St Margaret’s.
“The response has been overwhelming,” said.
“Parents who never normally go to church have been engaging with something that presents the Christian message and engages a whole new demographic.
“It’s a whole new relationship that we can build.”
Developed by people within his parish, Revd Ward worked with a graphic designer in the United States to produce the project.
Around 400 boxes were distributed ahead of Advent Sunday to every pupil at a local Church primary school.
“We were Covid-secure and had isolated everything for 48 hours before we gave them out,” he said.
“The caretaker at the school even stayed-on during his lunch break to help distribute them all.”
The project was part of St Margaret’s’ work to rethink what the Church might looks like in a post-Covid world.
That effort has paid off. “Our weekly reach online before this was less than 200 and now it’s 4,000 on social media - real, pure, organic growth,” he said.
- The Christmas in a Box project was funded by the Diocese of Rochester. This was through their Children and Young People’s Fund which aims to support ideas that will give children and young people lifelong encounters with Jesus.
- Grants are between £1,000 and £5,000 and can fund anything from resources and trips, to food and practical supplies.