The Seed Disperser - January 2023
This month's feature - Setting up for the New Year
What’s in this month’s Seed Disperser
Book of the month
Stations for Lent and Easter
Featured this month
Sensory Lent and Easter
Inspiration this month
Setting up for the New Year
Church of the month
The Church in Little River
Taking Flight 10% discount
Kereru Bundles 15% discount
On a personal note
Sunflowers and summer holidays
Book of the month
Stations for Lent and Easter draws from our earliest days in creating worship stations in predominantly church worship settings. This book, published in 2014, is the first in our series, “Refreshment at the Station’. There are forty nine different ideas for stations based worship. The stations included in the book are grouped into the following sections; Part 1 - Through the calendar, Part 2 - Testing of Christ, Part 3 - Stations from John’s Gospel, Part 4 - Jesus’ sayings from the cross, Part 5 - A Good Friday procession.
Use the discount code LENT2023 at the checkout of our online store to receive a 20% discount. Offer is valid until Sunday 9 April.
Featured this month - Sensory Lent and Easter
The observation of a Season of Lent dates back to the early centuries after the resurrection of Jesus. Historically Lent was a time when those new to the faith increased their spiritual understanding prior to baptism. Over time it has become a season for spiritual renewal for all followers of Jesus. In many churches and traditions the Season of Lent has traditional practices.
Our newest resource, while acknowledging some of the traditional Lenten practices, also offers a contemporary approach. Sensory Lent and Easter provides a journey to refresh our faith and deepen our connection with God. Throughout the series we'll focus on putting God in the centre of our lives, through self-denial, giving and praying.
This resource is primarily for the use of individuals, families and households, but the ideas can be adapted for group worship settings. Our pricing structure allows for a group subscription and the resource can also be purchased by individuals.
Daily sensory guide
The daily sensory guide includes a sensory prompt for the 40 days of Lent. Each of the prompts is based on one three broad practices of Lent; self-denial, giving and prayer.
The prompts have been arranged in a daily calendar which is printable in two versions. One version includes dates, and the other is not dated. Options for using the calendar include:
Follow the daily prompts in order, ticking off each dated calendar day.
Select from the daily prompts in any order, ticking off each day.
Print out the calendar onto light card and cut out the squares. Shuffle and randomly select a card each day or rearrange the cards to complete the prompts in your own planned order.
Use the daily prompts as ideas to make your own calendar or cards with 40 different ideas for Lent.
The Daily Sensory Guide will be sent by email on 19 February 2023
Sensory Lent and Easter Reflections
There are also eight short reflections with experiential activities and responses for eight key days, beginning on the day before Lent, also known as Shrove Tuesday, and ending on Resurrection Sunday. These will be emailed out a few days prior to the actual date of the day to which they relate
Shrove Tuesday/Ash Wednesday - delivered 15 February 2023
Lautere Sunday - delivered 15 March 2023
Holy Week Sensory Guide (Palm Sunday, Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday) - delivered 29 March 2023
Resurrection Sunday - delivered 5 April 2023
Read more about the resource on our website or send Caroline an email if you have any questions.
Single email address = $25 (NZD)
Groups with 30 email addresses = $65 (NZD) Additional members $5 (NZD) each
Inspiration this month
Setting up for the new year
January is the month for planning the year ahead. We have many resources both weekly and spread throughout the year. Whether leading a faith community or looking for personal inspiration there are many options and we’ve listed these below. Subscribers to two or more of our resources may be interested in taking advantage of one of our Kereru Bundles for reduced pricing and ease of administration.
Those who lead faith communities and groups, as well as those who don’t, may have already have spent some moments contemplating ideas and finding inspiration for the months ahead. Finding the space and time to let creative ideas and possibilities flow is often a challenge, particularly when there is a steady stream of demands on our time. We’ve included a couple of ideas to get inspiration flowing
Here’s a prayer idea that can be used any day, but is particularly relevant at the start of the year.
Morning light prayer
Go to a beach, a park, a field, a wide-open space or the best place you can find where the light is wide and open. If the sun rises early, you might not manage to get there at sunrise, but try to get to your chosen spot before the sun is very high in the sky. Stand or sit and immerse yourself in the light. What do you notice? How does it make you feel? There is an energy and freshness about the morning light. Do you sense the feeling of this day being new and open to fresh experiences? Nobody else has lived this day before. What does this day hold for you? Give the day ahead to God. Ask God to walk beside you and make it a day which brings glory to God and sustains and revitalises you. Let your thoughts move to the year ahead. What does the year hold for you? What are your hopes and dreams for this year? Give the year ahead to God.
The star brainstorm is an inclusive and creative way of prioritising dreams, plans, ideas and goals. We’ve used this many times in group settings. It can also be adapted for personal use*
Around your meeting space place large sheets of paper on tables or on boards. On each piece of paper write a word heading or question. Pre-decide the headings or questions. The headings should be broad enough to inspire the recording of many different ideas, yet specific enough to your group and situation for any ideas generated to be relevant to your specific setting. Some examples could be things like
What are our strengths as a faith community?
What are some practical ways we can show compassion to our wider community this year?
How can we be inclusive of allcomers to our worship services?
Give each person a marker, five gold star stickers and ten green dot stickers. Play gentle instrumental music in the background for the duration of the brainstorm activity.
Everyone moves around the room at their own pace, reading and reflecting on the questions and recording ideas on the sheets without discussion with others. If you have participants who are not able to read or write, it is okay if they discuss quietly with their support person. Ideas are added to each sheet by each person, in no particular order. Before adding a new idea, the brainstormers must read what others have written so the same idea isn’t recorded twice. If someone else has already recorded the same idea, a green dot sticker can be placed next to the idea. When each of the questions have many ideas recorded below them, pause so no further ideas can be added to the papers.
The next step is for everyone to move around the room again, reading what has been written on the sheets. Any remaining green dot stickers each person has can be added to any ideas that really resonate. This is also the time to add the five star stickers. Each person without discussion with others, makes their own call on what they view as the five most important ideas or thoughts recorded across the room. They can only place one star sticker next to any idea. This step may take longer than expected as it involves revisiting pages to place the stars. Some will regret only having five stickers as they’re enthusiastic about many of the ideas, others will struggle to make a choice between ideas, and some will find they don’t want to use all five of their stickers.
If you’ve completed this brainstorm in a group there is now an interactively produced map of ideas with priorities owned by those attending. Gather back together and read out the starred results aloud. Invite discussion on insights from the brainstorm. What has been surprising, affirming, energising, inspiring, from the brainstorm? Type up the results and distribute for further discussion. There may likely be further gatherings of the whole group or smaller groups to work through ideas and put some legs on them to make them happen.
*To adapt the idea for individuals, give yourself more time to brainstorm, possibly over an extended few days to allow room for surprising ideas to surface. Use less green dots and stars.
Our weekly Taking Flight publication is a lectionary based resource for anyone planning and preparing worship services. At a glance it provides a smorgasbord of creative ideas related to the lectionary readings of the day. The emphasis is on how these can be practically applied. It is also widely used as a small group, youth and children’s resource and as inspiration for individuals and church leaders. If you’re feeling short of time or want to kickstart your week with some ideas this is a great resource.
Read more about Taking Flight or subscribe here. You can also subscribe direct through our Substack website page.
We also have a free downloadable copy of Lectionary and Calendar for 2023. This Lectionary and Calendar follows the Common Lectionary Revised (1992) produced by the ecumenical liturgical body the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), and is produced by permission of the CCT as a service to parishes and preachers. The booklet is edited and produced by the Methodist Faith and Order Committee on behalf of the Methodist Church of New Zealand/Te Hahi Weteriana O Aotearoa and the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Andrew Gamman is the current editor of this Lectionary.
5 Senses to Prayer Virtual Prayer Room
Our 5 Senses to Prayer range of resources includes a weekly email called 5 Senses to Prayer Virtual Prayer Room. It’s delivered each Saturday 1pm (NZT) with two or three experiential prayers. It’s written for both individuals and group settings and prayers can be adapted to suit different situations.
Our current series is not paywalled so why not pop in and have a look and subscribe. If you opt for a free subscription you’ll receive the content free month and you can subscribe to the paid option at any time.
All of our seasonal resources are offered in both individual and group packages. They are delivered via email and are all included in at least one of our Kereru Bundles but most can also be purchased separately.
Autumn and Spring
Join us through the seasons of autumn and spring with our resources co-written with The Prayer Bench in Canada. In autumn we offer Autumn Rambles and in spring we offer Stroll for Your Soul. To ramble or stroll in the season where you live, we suggest that those in the southern hemisphere purchase through our online store, and those in the northern hemipshere purchase through The Prayer Bench.
Our Matariki resource is only available for subscribers to our Kereru Bundles although we may look at releasing this in 2023 as a stand-alone resource.
Halloween/All Saints Day
Our Halloween/All Saints Day resource is only available for subscribers to our Kereru Bundles.
Advent and Christmas
Our Counting Down to Christmas starts the day before Advent and lasts until Boxing Day each year. In 2022 we included an optional box kit which was well received and we are planning to offer a similar option for 2023. Our website still shows the 2022 resource, but there’s a new theme on offer for 2023.
Also included in Kereru Bundles
There are three different Kereru Bundle options, each available for either individuals or groups. Other resources that may be included depending on the bundle selection are Taking Flight and a summer resource, ‘Fun in the Sun’.
The Prayer Bench resources
Our friends at The Prayer Bench also provide an annual subscription package for both individuals and groups and these packages are available for subscription until end of January. Our shared resources Autumn Rambles and Stroll for Your Soul are included, (in opposite seasons) but the other offerings are different in style and content to ours. There are many who choose to subscribe to both our resources and The Prayer Bench.
The Prayer Bench also offers other resources for separate sale outside of the annual subscription packages.
Church of the month
The Church in Little River
The following offering is written by Alan K. Webster, author of Prayers for the Gathering.
In a warm little valley half-way between Christchurch and Akaroa lies a small former railhead where the trains last ran in 1962, where the traffic flow changes with cruise liner bus relay fleets and where a strong alternative community flourishes. In this glorious mix, followers of Jesus have been active and engaged in many different ways, with that slight edge that comes from being close to a major city yet not part of it: on the way to somewhere else yet worth visiting for its own sake.
Over the last five years we have been running what we call Throneroom of the King retreats, closely modelled after the Ffald-y-brenin centre in Wales (google it, or read The Grace Outpouring by Roy Godwin for our inspiration) At our Kiwi versions of those retreats we aim to offer very open-structure opportunities for people to be open to God saying what God alone says. Some of our attendees experience this in silence: some in arts of various kinds, some in walking and some in quiet conversations, writing or reading or quiet prayer. We provide three or four more formal liturgical events through the day as inspiration and encouragement, but with the main point of difference being trust that just as our attendees have opened themselves to a touch from God, so God will honour that…and to date, with eight such retreats behind us, we think we have a good model to work with.
Contact email@example.com to find out more
If you’re looking to start the year with one of our year-long resources we have two special offers available until 31 January 2023. Both offers will work with other discount codes included elsewhere in this edition of The Seed Disperser.
Taking Flight - Here’s a 10% discount. Use code TF2023
Kereru Bundles - Here’s a 15% discount. Use code NEWYEAR2023
On a personal note
We have had some holiday time over the January period and are feeling refreshed to head into the coming year. The photos below reflect the mixture of sunny days and wild and wet days that has been part of our summer this year. Andrew’s sunflowers flowered Christmas week. He’d planted them in spring with leftover seeds from a prayer activity at his Waitoki Hands-On Church. The family has been enjoying ice-creams from the ice-cream van parked permanently on Manly Beach this summer. Our ten days on Awhitu Peninsula were mostly wet and windy but fortunately this year we were not in a tent!
On the journey
Andrew and Caroline