As you know, Old First features live animals in our creche during the month of December. It’s our way of reminding people of the true meaning of Christmas in the city, in the midst of the bustle, of shopping and parties and presents and music and complex family dynamics. We offer folks a break, a chance to slow down, to watch the animals in the stable, and reflect on what God’s love brought to us in Jesus.
We are having a hard time finding animals for our creche this year. There are fewer farms raising animals, and with insurance liability and costs, fewer still are willing to rent them out. Costs have increased a great deal, too. One place that was called asked for $10,000 to rent the animals to us from Dec. 9th to the 27th. The only other farm we’ve found that is willing to rent to us is asking $100 a day plus $200 for delivery and pick up. Last year we paid $1,200.
We are seeking to call together an Old First ministry team who will help us think about this ministry in light of this new situation. And help us make the most of whatever arrangements we come up with. Also, the Creche Ministry Team has for the last few years helped with publicity, organized the feeding and care of the animals and also overseen Creche Picture Day. (The Sign up Genius for volunteers to feed and care for the animals is all ready, but will need to be monitored, to make sure the shifts are all taken. Someone is also needed to make reminder phone calls, another to fill in if someone is unable to make a shift occasionally, though staff do help out in emergencies.)
Another task of the Creche Ministry Team would be drafting more help erecting the creche on the weekend of Thanksgiving. Several of our creche builders are not able to do that job anymore.
And what if we had someone to keep in touch with the farm that loans us their animals. Someone who can keep watch and monitor the animals, who knows what to look for as far as large animal health is concerned would be ideal.
We have a volunteer who has already volunteered to head up picture day, but we need to draft volunteers for extra hands that day to prepare and serve hot chocolate, keep the kids busy as they wait, and keep everyone, humans and animals, safe and calm.
If you have skills with promotion, or contact with tv and radio stations, that would be a bonus, since we need to publicize our ministry (in the midst of the Christmas crush). And because we rely on outside donations to maintain this ministry.
The Committee would have to look at the costs and decide whether we proceed with a shortened schedule to reduce expenses, or do more to promote the creche and draw in donations.
The saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We might revise it to say, “It takes a congregation to care for a stable and keep up the Creche tradition.” Can you join with others to help us preserve this powerful tradition that reminds us all of the love of God in Christ, here in the city? Or is this a ministry that we can no longer support?
If you would please let Michael or the church office know of your interest in being involved in this important ministry team… You can also write a note indicating your interest in the pew pad or with your offering. Michael will call a meeting when we’ve identified who wants to help.