In college, I had the opportunity to spend a summer working and researching in rural Ghana. Based at a vocational school, I worked with a microloan organization, with students preparing for national exams, and with a small sewing cooperative. I arrived ready to interview and gather data — a clear research plan in hand. One of the women I worked with asked how I would learn anything if I didn’t use my hands. I was confused at first, and then she showed me. When you study the cooperative’s business model, you need to actually sew a few buttons. If you want to teach the students, help them gather water when the pump breaks down. If you want to understand social capital in the community, sit in the kitchen before the microloan meeting and join the women grinding tomatoes for the community meal.
We learn in many different ways, but research teaches us that we learn at a deeper level when our whole selves are involved in the process. It’s not just intellectually unpacking an idea; it’s also hearing the stories of trusted adults around us. It’s not just reading a book; it’s creating a response.
On Sunday, the whole church is invited to practice Advent with our hands. We will make candles and feel the wax changing as the candle is formed and we learn something new about light. We will watch a master calligrapher transform the written word into a visual story and have the opportunity to try our hand and learn what it is for the Word to take on flesh. We will practice the abundance of the season when we make stockings for children in need. But most of all, we will also practice being church as we work together, help one another, and carve out time to prepare for the coming King.
All ages are invited to join us on Sunday following worship in the gymnasium. No craft experience necessary!