Stir up a pud
Looking for new ways to connect with your community? Derek Allan introduces an idea that combines Christmas pudding and conversation
I was intrigued! One November Sunday morning the front of the church was decorated with pictures of Christmas puddings and the invitation was given to come and make a pudding, and to bring non-Christian friends along. A few weeks later, the church was filled with people mixing and stirring in ingredients, while chatting, laughing and hearing the Good News behind Christmas.
All this took place at Steep Turnpike Evangelical Church in Matlock. Around forty people came to Stir up a Pud, around half of whom were not churchgoers.
Anyone with Anglican connections may be aware of Stir Up Sunday, which arises from the collect for the Sunday before Advent and which includes the words: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people … Traditionally, Christmas puddings would be made around this time.
The Stir up a Pudding evening was relaxed and hilarious. All the ingredients had been provided, ready to be measured out and mixed into bowls. Each stage of the preparation was explained and illustrated on the screen, so that even the novices like me couldn’t go wrong. In between culinary stages there were humorous Christmas-themed quizzes (with prizes) and towards the end a simple, graphic presentation of the Good News. We ended with a carol and a taste of Christmas pudding (cooked well in advance!).
All the guests had a great evening and many were asking to be invited for the next time. Although preparing everything is labour-intensive and the cost of ingredients not inconsiderable (people paid £3 for a ticket, but this would not have covered half the cost), here was an event that ticked many boxes:
Church members were able to bring non-Christian friends and neighbours, who enjoyed themselves hugely and heard the Good News.
Stir up a Pud comes well ahead of the main pre-Christmas events, so does not clash with carol services, Christingles etc..
Because it comes early it is the ideal opportunity to invite folk to those Christmas events.
We all took home a Christmas pudding to cook!
If you would like to try putting on Stir up a Pud, you can get a detailed account of how the evening might run and the all-important recipe by clicking here.
Derek Allan is a former head of the Department for Research, Training and Mission at the Baptist Union of Great Britain