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November 26, 2014

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Hold a creche exhibit: Our ward for the last three years has held a creche exhibit at our church. The event typically lasts Thursday through Sunday evenings (7 - 9 PM). We solicit nativity scenes from both church members and the community as a whole. We also invite those with art work of the Savior to display that as well. After the various exhibits are collected, they are then photographed and logged into a simple Access database (but Excel could be used just as easily).

During event hours, we also try to line up choirs / musicians to provide music each evening. For example, my daughter played in a string quartet. She invited three non-member friends from her school to join her in providing the music. Our family also sang. We invited our neighbors and colleagues from work on the evening we were to sing. We ended up having roughly 20 non-member friends join us that evening.

Publicity for the event is key. We made professional looking posters, hand-out flyers, post cards, and also submitted news releases to the local papers and to neighborhood associations. The other key is to have some real showcase creches and art work. There do not need to be hundreds of rare or unusual exhibits, but there need to be at least a handful.

To do this event right, it does take a tremendous amount of work, but it can be invaluable for promoting good will in the community and reinforcing the fact that we truly are Christians.

Easter basket: Our family loves the "Finding Faith in Christ" DVD that the Church made. We ordered extra copies to give to our neighbors. We made up Easter baskets filled with other goodies as well as the DVD and went as a family to distribute them to our neighbors. We did not hear comments back from everyone, but two of the families told us that their children loved the DVD and had watched it many times. As a result of that feedback, We felt comfortable inviting those two families to other church-related activities as well.

Pass along cards at work: I am one of only a handful of individuals at who is a member of the Church. Nearly everyone I meet at work somehow knows that I am LDS. I will often get questions. It is easy to keep a few pass along cards at work for anyone who is curious about the Church. Of course, I try to answer their questions directly, but by giving them a card, they can perhaps follow-up with a call to the Church for additional information or even a visit by the missionaries.

Veterans Day program: For the last two years, our stake has performed a Veterans Day program filled with patriotic and 1940 - 50s music. The program has a radio-show theme. The event begins with a color-guard ceremony and prayer. Then, the radio show begins with the audience pretending like they are about to participate in an on-the-air radio show. The acts consist of several chorus numbers as well as individual or group numbers ranging from barbershop quartets to blue grass numbers. The program is performed locally a couple nights in a row, but then is also performed in part at various locations such as retirement centers, the VA hospital, etc. It has been a wonderful event and warmly received by the community. Our stake president hosted a VIP reception before the show that included the mayor, law enforcement officials, and leading citizens in the community.

Fun run: Our ward for more than 10 years has held an annual 5K fun run. Mostly ward members participate, but we also try to invite neighbors and friends to join in on the fun. We print up t-shirts and plenty of blank award templates, so nearly everyone goes home with some sort of recognition.

Love your neighbor weekend: Our stake president designated one weekend of each month as "love your neighbor" weekend. Of course, we should all love our neighbors all of the time, but our stake president asked that at least once a month we help our neighbors or invite them into our homes. There are no guidelines given or mandated as to what one should do, but simply encouragement to think outside the circle of church friends and reach out to those who are near us in our communities. One month a family might invite two or three families to a backyard barbecue. Another month, perhaps a family is invited to join in on a sporting event.

If you have an idea that you would like to submit, please send your idea to the editor by clicking here.

 

     

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