Monday, November 18, 2013

Simplicity Christmas Priority

This is my third year making Christmas ornaments for our Stephen Ministry at church. For those who don't know, Stephen Ministry is an international, non-denominational, caring ministry started over 30 years ago here in the States by a minister who realized that lots of people were suffering very real pain without the support they needed.

Stephen Ministers today are trained to provide one-on-one care for people who are in pain. The pain can come from almost anything...from the loss of a loved one to coping with a loved one's addiction to dealing with major life changes like empty nest or retirement or divorce. The support Stephen Ministers provide is primarily through listening, encouragement, and prayer.

It is a wonderful ministry, and I'm so privileged to have become a part of it three years ago.

During Advent, our Stephen Ministry group reminds our congregation that not everyone is happy this time of year. For some, the joy of the season feels completely out of tune with their sadness, grief, or fear. We encourage others to pay attention to the needs of those who might be silently suffering, and we hand out ornaments during Advent to promote awareness.

These ornaments include a verse or saying to encourage those who are suffering. Every year, we get requests for additional ornaments for friends or extended family. It's truly a wonderful gift.

This year's ornament is below. We will add a Bible verse on the back later (still deciding that part), but here's the design.

2 1/8" x 5 1/2"

Our group will make about 250 of these this year. The logistics for this year's ornaments are pretty simple. A single sheet of card stock cut into half and then quarters yields 8 ornaments, which are flat enough and big enough to also serve as bookmarks. A corner rounder and small circle punch are the only two tools needed. We'll print the verse on avery labels and stick them on the back.

I like the way these ornaments hang, with the peace flowing down to the bottom of the ornament just as peace flows down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ.

As you begin your preparations for the holidays, I ask you to take a few minutes to think of friends or family who may need a little extra care this season. A number of you have shared with me your losses and grief from this year, the fears you face right now, and challenges that are weighing you down. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pray for you. But please don't deny that privilege to those closest to you, those who can hug you in real life. Reach out and get help when you need it.

And if you want a Stephen Minister, call your church and ask for a referral. Not all churches have active programs, but most know how to get in touch with one.

Peace to you all this holiday season.

stamps: Papertrey Peaceful Snowflakes, Wreath for all Seasons
ink: Kaleidacolor
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: corner rounder, circle punch, craft floss, avery labels, printer


  1. The ornament is beautiful. I love the kaleidocolor ink. You're part of a wonderful and inspiring ministry.

  2. What a truly good cause to be part of Susan ... I love the ornament expressing that His peace is for everyone. Anita :)

  3. Very nice, simple...I'm betting folks who are struggling this year, don't want a lot of fancy schmancy stuff anyway. I've decided to gift my church children's ministry volunteer leaders (6) with 8 Christmas tags each. I've been eyeing the huge variation on-line...from Tim Holtz, to LawnFawn. I've decided on one fancy (assuming I can accomplish this feat), and definitely 7 simple. As usual, you inspire me.

  4. Love this idea, it is really important to keep in mind those who will find the season extremely difficult, and a ministry to support them is fantastic.

  5. This is such a great idea, the sentiment is beautiful and what a wonderful network of support. Cathy x


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