This was both a wonderfully joyful and creative, and heartbreaking thing to write. If you’re thinking of using it, you may feel the same.
If you want to skip straight to the downloads, which really contain all you need, go right to the end of this post.
If you want to ease yourself in with some information (most of which is repeated in the downloads), so you have some idea of what’s going on before you wade in, read on:
The service is designed to last about half an hour. There is an opening section with a brief prayer, and some text from John 1, followed by the Christmas story in three parts (Annunciation, Nativity, Shepherds), and then closing prayers which everyone participates in.
There are also Christmas carols. Notes are included on singing – you’ve probably done singing over Zoom already yourself. I’ve found the best way is to find a version of the hymn on YouTube, and have everyone mute themselves and sing along. With the voices on YouTube, you don’t feel like you’re the only one singing, as you would with an instrumental backing track. I’ve included links to YouTube videos of each hymn, but if you have a choir, you may wish to have them do recordings – just remember to add lyrics to the video so people can easily sing along.
Anyone who wants to is encouraged to draw along with the service and share their drawings (or Play-doh sculptures, or whatever) on the church’s social media page. You may want to have a specific album for them to share to – you can put the link to that in the chat.
Children are also encouraged to come to the service dressed as a character from the Nativity story – they will join in the prayers at the end based on what they’re dressed as – eg all the Maries read one bit, all the shepherds read another. If you have non-readers, you may want to do “repeat after me” with the prayers.
The stories are told using PowerPoint presentations – these are available to download in this post along with the order of service. In two of the PowerPoints, there’s something to discuss at the end, so people can join in and share their thoughts with each other.
Families can also be encouraged to create a “Prayer Space” by their computer – with a nativity set, or decorations, or anything they like. Everyone will need a candle (or an LED candle, or string of lights, or something like that). If you know a family doesn’t have one, and can’t access one, do find a way to provide one for them.
Here is everything you need for the service:
Here are the three stories you’ll need:
And here are the closing prayers that everyone joins in on:
10 thoughts on “Crib Service on Zoom”
You are so awesom.
AWESOME. Don’t know what happened to the E, I swear I typed it.
This looks great, found it via a link on a CPAS page. Thought we might try it here in our small church in Chelmsford Dio, if that’s ok, but our safeguarding reps are getting a bit uptight about doing anything with families on Zoom. Might you be able to advise please?
Hi Jane – thanks so much for your kind words. Many churches routinely connect with families on Zoom, and it can easily be done in a safe way. The main things to remember are:
1. Children need to be accompanied by an adult at all times.
2. Children should be wearing clothes and not pyjamas, and should not be participating from their bedrooms.
3. The Zoom link should be shared privately – mailings, direct messages, etc – not posted anywhere public like Facebook or Twitter. This is to limit “Zoom-bombing,” where people can grab links off the internet and then enter a meeting and cause trouble. You can publicise the event publicly, but say something like “email the church office – firstname.lastname@example.org – for the Zoom link.”
4. Use the waiting room feature on Zoom to moderate people coming in, and have someone ready to respond quickly to bad behaviour, and remove people from the meeting if needed.
The full guidelines on doing Zoom meetings with children and young people, from the Church of England National Safeguarding Team, are here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/Being%20connected%20with%20ZOOM%20safely.pdf
Thank you very much.
Thank you so much for all your hard work on this lovely service. We are adapting slightly for a collaborative effort between three churches in Northern Maine. I’m excited to see how it works! Thank you again! I found it from a forma link from your mom. :–)
Thank you for sharing these. Quick question – if we use the powerpoints, how should we credit you? Thanks.
Sorry – I was on annual leave and didn’t see the comment! Hope you went ahead and used them anyway and that it went well.
Not to worry! I just don’t like to use something without crediting the person who created it! Bless you for this 🙂
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