Taking Christmas spirit on the road with “The True Meaning of Christmas Tour”
NASHVILLE, TN – Sixteen states, 21 cities, 23 days, 500+ volunteers, 16,400 cups of cocoa, a truckload of Christmas spirit and just one purpose: to help people unwrap the true meaning of Christmas. The United Methodist Church is hitting the road in December in a gift-wrapped touring truck, decked out to share fellowship from city-to-city.
Warm invitations to visit United Methodist churches bring a cheerful message of hope to people during Advent.
United Methodist churches will host a come-and-go event in each city at a location bustling with holiday foot traffic. The festivities include free hot cocoa, a chance to join in a community service project, such as donating coats or canned goods, and an invitation to join local congregations for Christmas services and events. You can even share prayer requests or engage in a conversation about the true meaning of Christmas.
“This tour is a unique way for the church to reach out to people who are experiencing loneliness or who want to give back to the community at this significant time of year,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of the denomination’s communication agency. United Methodist Communications is coordinating the month-long expedition in partnership with local churches. “We want to invite everyone to visit a United Methodist church and join with others to continue to explore the true meaning of Christmas.”
A survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013 indicated that the activities that people least liked at Christmas time are the commercialism/materialism, money/expense, and shopping/crowds. What they most look forward to is spending time with family and friends (69%) and religious reflection/church (11%).
Throughout December, The United Methodist Church will utilize television and digital advertising to explore the true meaning of Christmas as part of a national advertising campaign, “Their words. Our beliefs,” which features children discussing faith. The holiday messages ask, “Children know the true meaning of Christmas. What if we all did?”
Follow the tour online at UnwrapChristmas.org and #UnwrapChristmas as it travels through:
Dec. 2: Waco, Texas
Dec. 3: Dallas, Texas
Dec. 4: Shreveport, Louisiana
Dec. 5: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dec. 6: Jackson, Mississippi
Dec. 7: Little Rock, Arkansas
Dec. 8: Memphis, Tennessee
Dec. 10: Champaign, Illinois
Dec. 11: Indianapolis, Indiana
Dec. 12: Columbus, Ohio
Dec. 13: Charleston, West Virginia
Dec. 14: Johnstown/Ebensburg, Pennsylvania
Dec. 15: Washington, D.C.
Dec. 16: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Dec. 17: Greenville, North Carolina
Dec. 19: Charleston, South Carolina
Dec. 20: Columbia, South Carolina
Dec. 21: Knoxville, Tennessee
Dec. 22: Metro Atlanta, Georgia
Dec. 23: Huntsville, Alabama
Dec. 24: Nashville, Tennessee
United Methodist congregations will host hot cocoa fellowship events in many cities across the U.S. where the tour truck is not able to visit. These mini-events will extend a warm holiday invitation to connect with a local community of faith.
Resources for Vital Congregations
GBHEM Leadership Resources
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.