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40 Years of the Uniting Church – Anniversary Ideas

23 May 2017 3 Comments

Happy Anniversary to the Uniting Church in Australia – 40 years on June 22nd!

You might have seen social media posts about the Uniting Churches 40th celebrations #allofthisisus #UCA40 – Many people across the church are spending 40 days in prayer leading up to the anniversary (click here for more details). Older members can remember the momentous event when three separate denominations joined together to form the Uniting Church in 1977. But it is worth taking the time to tell the story to younger generations or new members, so that the joy of that occasion and all that has been achieved is not lost.

Here are few suggestions for telling that story using the UCA logo and a variety of materials:

Story in felt

I used this recently in a church worship service and not only the children but adults too were fascinated to see the logo emerge…

I have a story in this box (Hold up box, but leave lid on) – I wonder if the colours of the box are a clue? What are the colours? Mmm, three colours in one box. Let’s see what is inside.

(Place black felt circle on the floor and smooth it out slowly) What does this look like?  (Usually someone will say “it is a black circle”) Yes, well the person who first told this story said this is like a darkened earth … (Move your hand over the felt in a slow circle) Have you ever seen photos of planet earth in the dark?

(Get the next piece out of the box, a white felt u-shape, and place it on) This makes a difference. What does it look like now? (Usually someone will say “a smiley face”) It certainly looks brighter now.  What could it mean?  I wonder if this is a bowl … or a letter ‘u’…?

(Get the next piece which is a long white strip of felt) I wonder what this means? (Someone usually says it is like an anchor or boat) It could be those things, but what happens when we add this? (Place the other strip of felt to form the cross)

(At this point it looks strikingly like an anchor and you can agree with that suggestion, and perhaps point out that it also looks like a boat without a sail. Sit back and pause, looking puzzled) Hmmm, this is good, but it needs something more.

(Get the red felt dove out and place it in the middle) Ahh, this makes all the difference! This brings it to life! What do you think it is? Yes, it is a bird, but not just any bird. This is a dove, a sign of the Spirit, and it is red, like Pentecost. The red dove is flying not resting. Do you think it looks like a red flame too?

(By now people realise it is a familiar logo and they are intrigued) The three colours represent the three churches that formed the Uniting Church – Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational. The darkened earth has received the light of the cross, the u-shape stands for the Uniting Church but also helps form an anchor or a boat, both early symbols of the church. But the red dove expresses the movement of the Spirit, and just like it brings this logo to life, it brings the church to life.

(Get out some small red feathers) In the box there are also some red feathers, from the red dove, so take one and remember the red dove and what it means, and when you see this logo on a building, it might be a school or a church or an aged care centre or a shop, you will know what it means.

The story in a biscuit (sweet)

Take a plain dark chocolate biscuit like a wheaten.

Using white icing, either roll it between your hands to form shapes, or roll it out on a board and cut it out in shapes, form a u-shape on the biscuit.

Next add the cross the same way.

Then add the red dove, either cut out of fruit strap or using red icing in a squeeze tube.

See the felt story above for the meaning of the logo. Tell the story as you decorate the biscuit, then let children make their own.

The same technique can be used to decorate a cupcake. If desired a large round cake can be iced with dark chocolate and decorated with whipped cream in a can and fresh strawberries or frozen berries to form the UCA logo. This makes a spectacular morning tea after a church service.

The story in a Jatz/vegemite/cheese style (savoury)

Take a plain Jatz biscuit or something similar, like a round water cracker.

Spread with Vegemite.

Add the u-shape cut out of cheese or bent with string cheese. Add the cross in cheese.

The red dove can be cut from tomato or red capsicum or even a squeeze of tomato sauce.

See the felt story above for the meaning of the logo. Tell the story as you decorate the biscuit, then let the children make their own. They might like to make lots for morning tea for everyone!

Colour-in Uniting Church Logo

Download a colouring in version of the Uniting Church logo

Uniting Church wrist band

The three colours represent the three churches that came together to form the Uniting Church – the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches.

Children can plait together three colours of ribbon or dyed leather straps to form a wrist band.

Black and white and red beads can also be used to remember the three denominations that formed the Uniting Church.

You might also be interested in Pentecost ideas

3 Comments »

  • Patty said:

    Hi Judyth, thanks for more great ideas. The Synod website has a PowerPoint file of the logo, not as interactive as felt.
    One year I read Sail Away by Mem Fox as part of our UCA Anniversary service. Different animals bring different skills, together they win the race.

  • Robyn said:

    Great ideas – thank you

  • Jillian said:

    Thanks for the great ideas. I was already planning to explain the logo to the children/congregation on Sunday but your explanation adds some more. I must have found these ideas a few years ago, as we made the logo biscuits at an all age dinner a few years ago. I used gluten & dairy free short bread so that all could participate.

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