Wild Church Campfire
on Sunday 25th September, 3.30pm

Pathfinder Primary School field, at the end of the school car park. 

What will happen in the field?

Bring along your own camp chair and hot drinks... and perhaps a toy sheep, as we gather around the campfire to sing... pray... tell stories...make and eat popcorn... and reflect...

Words to use in the field

You may like to load these on your smart phone during our gathering.. but there is no need to read along if you don't want to.

Throughout our Wild Church session, we'll keep revisiting our Wild Church song...

Gathering as we are

Our opening conversation allows us to get to know each other. 
Dressed in our ordinary clothes. Sitting in a place many of us are familar with. Nothing special... 

but WHO ARE WE? 
With our sheep to keep us company, we prepare to unpack a story never normally told at this time of year...
Come and sit upon a hillside,
see the sleeping town below.
Round the campfire [imagining] moonlight.
hear the tales of long ago.
How a people watched and waited,
longing for a promised King,
and the freedom and the justice,
that his powerful reign would bring

[from Come and Sit by Avis Palmer published in Winter ed Ruth Burgess @Wild Goose]
Today, we look at the Christmas story through the lens of Communion. Over the last two weeks, we've thought about the importance of Gathering and Preparing (including saying Sorry and being assured of forgiveness), before we share in Communion. Today, we ask what this Christmas story might have to say to us... not just about God's incarnation among us... but about what we do when we meet to share in the Lord's Supper.

Praying in preparation

Call to worship

please respond by saying or signing: "Glory!" to each stanza
[Open hands, fingers wiggling slightly, move together and up body]


Glory to our Creator;
who meets us here in the beauty of the outdoor world, and the dancing flame of our campfire:

All:  Glory!


Glory to our Saviour
who meets us as we eat and share, 
connecting us as siblings

All:   Glory!


Glory to our Sustainer
who enables us to Love more deeply and unconditionally.
Who helps us to know ourselves in God!

All: Glory!


May we find God in our praying, exploring, and sharing
Today and every day. 
All: Glory! Amen

A Christmas Prayer for a September Afternoon

Grace dawned this morning, 
   streaking our bleary eyes 
   with bright shafts 
   of beauty and goodness. 

All: Glory!

Joy sang us awake 
with carols of wonder 
   written by shepherds, 
   the tunes composed by children 
      who could not sleep. 

All: Glory!

Hope was fixing breakfast 
for us while we slept, 
   toasting the Bread and 
   slathering it with jam, 
      pouring us a cuppa 
      steaming grace. 

All: Glory!

We rejoice and give thanks 
God in Community, Holy in One, 
our Grace, our Joy, our Hope, 
even as we pray as your Child taught us, 

adapted from a Christmas Prayer by Thom Shuman


We use Body Postures as we pray the Lord’s Praye


Our Father in heaven,  

hallowed be your name,  
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread. 

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. 

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. 

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, 
now and for ever. Amen. 




Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!

  • Messenger: 10 Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. 11 Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! 12 You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.

13 At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.

Together, we say and sign the message of the  Massed Heavenly Messengers - the Angels:
repeat after me... getting louder... and then quieter

ALL: Glory!

ALL: Glory!

Glory in the highest!
All: Glory in the highest!

ALL: Glory!

ALL: Glory!

Glory in the highest!
All: Glory in the highest!

now quietly

ALL: Glory!

ALL: Glory!

Glory brings Peace on Earth! [sign PEACE]
All: Glory brings Peace of Earth! [Sign PEACE]

Talking it over

Have you ever noticed that praise is infectious? Often, when we come to church we might not feel inclined to give praise and glory...  but together we can  get caught up in it.

What are your favourite ways to give God Glory?
Music? Singing? Art? 

What happened next?

15 As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.

  • Shepherds: Let’s rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let’s see what’s happening! Let’s experience what the Lord has told us about!

Responding: Praise makes us hungry for an encounter with God!

As we cook our popcorn, we "explode" with praise -- calling out our thanks and praise.
Watch our Popcorn Praise

Reflecting as we eat

What did the shepherds expect when they set off for Bethlehem - Sarah brings some insights.

What are WE expecting when we come to eat bread and wine at communion, having started with praise that makes us hungry for an encounter?
What songs, prayers, and activities help you prepare?

Receiving 'Peace on Earth'

Call to Reconciliation
Even as we tell the Christmas Story of love and joy, of laughter and families, we must remember and confess how we dampen the spirits of others, speak hurtful words to those we love, turn our backs on those in need.  

Before we hold silence to reflect on the things we want to say sorry for, we will be led in a prayer for forgiveness:

   Manger-dwelling God,
      we heard the songs of the angels,
         yet we easily tune-out the cries of the needy;
      we feel the breath of our children on our faces,
         yet remain untouched by your Spirit of peace;
      we are surrounded by gifts as precious as those
      brought by the Wise Ones,
         yet have trouble sharing with those
         who are from other countries, other faiths.

   Forgive us, Grace swaddled in mystery.
      We believe in the spirit-of-Christmas,
         help us to believe in you even more;
      we hunger for happiness,
         feed us on your peace;
      we long for community and acceptance,
         surround us with our brothers and sisters
         we find in all those, of every age and every place,
         who follow and serve alongside our Lord and Savior,
         Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this day.  Amen.

Silence is kept

Lord have mercy
All: Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
All: Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
All: Lord have mercy

The priest prays for our Absolution

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw you to himself
and cleanse you from all your sins,
that you may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

As we take signs of PEACE from the manger, we are assured of God's pardon

Born that day was grace – for the broken and bereft;
born that day was hope – for the vulnerable and forgotten;
born that day was love – for all of us!

Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! 
 So let's  give God the Glory!
All: Glory!

And go to tell others of all we have seen, heard, experienced, and know.  

All: Amen.

adapted from a Christmas prayer for forgiveness by Thom Shuman, with additional prayers from Common Worship 

Sharing News

Being sent out to make a difference

Let us go, 
to join the angels in singing 
of God’s glory and grace. 

Let us go to share the good news, 
that Jesus, the brother 
of the vulnerable and forgotten 
is in our midst still. 

Let us go to offer 
peace and goodwill to everyone, 
joining the Spirit in telling 
of all we have seen and heard. 

adapted from a Christmas Benediction by Thom Shuman

Highlights from some previous Wild Church sessions

Preparing for Baptism

 ‘Let the children come to me. Do not stop them’.  - words of Jesus
Wild Church Candlemas Campfire  - burning the last of the Christmas Greenery - and Snowdrop Planting with PATHFINDER CHURCH NORTHSTOWE

Our service contained material adapted from Rachel Summer’s Wild Worship; Steve Hollinghurst’s Service for Candlemas in Lockdown “As Winter Gives Way to Spring An outdoor celebration For Brigid-tide and Candlemas” (https://youtu.be/8E8krQtqrSs), and draws on reflections written by Heather Leppard and Paula Gooder. The song comes from Worship in the Woods by Sam and Sara Hargreaves. The final blessing is from Richard Halverson