Sep 21, 2015
I've always considered days in the Church Year like Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday to be the church equivalent. And the spike in attendance on those days, while hopefully due to the profound encounter with the divine, may also have to do with the liturgical giveaways.
With this in mind, here are a few suggestions for more creative church giveaways. Yes, I consider myself the Bill Veek of the Church. Just stay away from anything resembling Veek's infamous Disco Demolition Night.
Processional Cross Sunday -- Talk about driving the Verger insane, this giveaway will likely turn out like the one and only Bat Day at Yankee Stadium. While it sounded like a good idea at the time, in practice handing out 30,000 lethal clubs to a bunch of drunks in the South Bronx didn't go so well.
Clergy Bobblehead Sunday -- Since your priest/pastor likely has a Messiah Complex anyway, why
Bishop Bling Sunday -- Ushers hand out replica bishop's rings to the first 150 communicants. Why should the bishop be the only one to show up to church wearing a glorified Super Bowl ring?
Keychain Sunday -- Everyone receives a keychain in the form of a cross that includes a copy of the front door key. Since there are already hundreds of church keys floating around the community (held by former wardens, the rector that retired in 1992, the lady that used to teach tap dancing lessons in the parish hall, etc) why not just give everyone their own copy and own the sieve-like security of most churches?
Foam Finger Sunday -- This isn't actually a giveaway. But most clergy have always wanted to stand at the altar and celebrate the eucharist with two giant foam fingers, in the appropriate liturgical colors of course.
Acolyte Races Sunday -- During the seventh inning stretch (aka the Peace), three acolytes are blindfolded, given robes three sizes too large, handed a flaming thurible, and spun around 10 times. The first one to make it to the chancel steps wins. This is also known as Liability Sunday.
Hassock Sunday -- What's a hassock you ask? That's the fancy name for the ratty kneelers found in many churches. In a variation on 'you break it you buy it,' if you kneel on it, you take it with you. Please. Far, far away. This giveaway is the only possible way the vestry will consider purchasing new ones.
Of course the real giveaway at church is God's grace freely bestowed upon all who enter. In the sacramental tradition, this is made manifest in the bread and wine consecrated at the altar. Body and blood of Christ as a giveaway? Well, it's better than advertising Jesus Trucker Hat Sunday.
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Please correct to Bill Veeck. No church could match Disco Demolition Day and I don't want to see you in a halter top.
All these giveaways are excellent ideas. Here's an additional one for Liability Sunday - you get to keep the candle from the Easter Saturday vigil, where everyone (including the elderly and unsteady) carrying an open flame gets to process into a darkened church. I always expected a Michael Jackson-like hair conflagration from this one.
Keep up the good (and holy) work.
Re: Flaming hair
My parish *had* a huge Advent wreath suspended from the ceiling. By Advent 4, the greenery was dry and the candles were short. Part of the wreath caught on fire after the service. Someone ran outside to tell the rector-- didn't bother to just put the fire out. Empowered laity? Not so much.
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