Tuesday, November 01, 2005

transition packs

(Been meaning to blog this for a while).

A guiding verse for us as a church this year has been John 10:10; Jesus coming to give us life to the full. This has raised for us as church ministry staff the questions;

  • How do we resource people to live Christian life to the full?
  • What would it mean for us as church staff to offer pastoral support to people in life’s many transitions?

A conversational comment made by Olive Drane has kept stirring away. She noted her son getting a new job and the job placement agency sending in a morning tea on the first day of the new job. And the question, “What could it mean for churches to be engaged in honouring these transitions?”

Outcome …
This year we have started “transition packs.” For example;

  • new seeds to people moving house
  • new nappies to families with new-borns
  • cycling gloves for the loss of a drivers licence

Purpose …

  • To provide a God-presence for all of life.
  • To show our pastoral support for people.
  • Allows us to connect with people both inside and outside the church.

Process …
With the staff and with our ministry leader we brainstormed together transitions and potential gifts.

  • What are the life transitions people go through?
  • What could go into a “transition pack” which we give, along with a card, to people going through a life transition?

Ideally gifts would be creatively low-cost. Ideally gifts would be unique to allow freshness and avoid the legalism of expectations. This brainstorming process made us more alert to “whole-of-life” transitions and turned up creative suggestions.

Possible transitions and gifts could include…

Expectant fathers
New parents
Newcomers to church
First job
Drivers license
Family and marriage difficulties
Death and anniversary of death
Child dedications
Gaining a qualification
Boyfriend and girlfriend breakups

Transition packs could include…
Maps for city, for church, for local area
Information pack about the church inc toilet, 24/7 prayer room
Monthly calendar
Vouchers for a local café, for meal, for babysitter
Journal for during the transition, with some input
Treat yourself to “walk in the park” … “good cry” .. etc
Chewing gum
Specific verses
Aloe vera face wash
And a nice box to put all this in

Posted by steve at 02:38 PM


  1. I have often found myself distancing myself from community, whether church, friends or family during times of transition, particularly if they are painful or unsettling. I think this is common because the transition takes so much energy that it is difficult to hold the rest of your life together at the time. It would be wonderful for transition to be seen as a ‘normal’ part of life and for church communities to be able to be on the journey too as I adjust.

    Comment by marion — November 10, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

  2. Celebrancy can help with recognising transitions in our lives I am interested in developing ceremonies beyond the standards for births, daeths and marriages. Congregations and community groups can benefit from communal services looking at particular issues for example around midwinter i created a Matariki service of rememberance of the dead which was incorporated in an alternative worship servic

    Comment by Nicky jenkins — November 16, 2005 @ 2:44 pm

  3. What you are doing is just great Nicky. You should start a website with your rituals, to stimulate others imaginations. i would be happy to help you build it, or to put a special section about this on the futurechurch website.

    Comment by steve — November 16, 2005 @ 4:54 pm

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