January 31 – February 6
Porch Fires is an initiative that ties in with our Build More Fires and Inextinguishable themes. It’s an attempt to foster community and connection for our church during this very challenging pandemic and during a time of year when people tend to struggle with mental health.
The idea is to encourage everyone to share something with another Renew member during the week of January 31-February 6. They will do this by dropping off an item on their porch. We hope this will spark a little unity and community during this lockdown, hence the name “Porch Fires”.
In our commitment to limiting the spread of the virus, we want to take certain precautions during this initiative:
- We ask anyone who has COVID-19 or who has been in contact with anyone having COVID-19 within the past 14 days to NOT participate, or to limit their participation to online activities (more below).
- No one is to make contact with another person or to enter their home. All we are asking is for people to leave an item on the front porch. People may ring the doorbell and then dash off to add to the fun.
- We ask all participants to exercise high levels of sanitation (hand washing and even sterilization of items when possible) both when preparing a gift and when receiving a gift, and to always keep sanitation in mind when participating.
- We ask people to consider the level of caution of the person they are giving to. (This is a very practical element of showing love and maintaining unity.) For example, if you know someone is exercising extra caution, maybe consider not giving baked goods if that will make them uncomfortable. Having an item delivered by a professional third party might be a better option (something from Amazon or Skip the Dishes). When in doubt, get informed! There are creative ways of finding out what you need to without spoiling the surprise. Ask someone who knows what will be appreciated or not. Again, this is a very practical way of showing love.
- We ask people to quickly deliver items while they are already making their visits to the grocery or drug store. We want to encourage everyone to be at home as much as possible in keeping with the Ontario government’s request.
- What kind of gifts can you give? Literally anything! A thoughtful card, a book or magazine, baked goods, a Big Mac delivered by Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats, a homemade craft… be creative! Think about what would be meaningful to the recipient, and be sure to include a little note of encouragement.
- How many gifts can you give? As many as you want! Let’s try to think of people who might get overlooked and make sure they are remembered.
- Virtual gifting is a great option for those who are at higher risk or being more cautious. Just be sure to note that this is being done as part of the Porch Fires campaign. Virtual options include things like encouraging emails, e-cards, funny memes, digital creations, music or music playlists, videos, podcasts, or even gifts purchased from and delivered by 3rd party vendors. Even a simple FaceTime call would be appreciated by many people.
Sharing the Joy
- If you receive something in the Porch Fires campaign, please let us tell everyone about it on our Renew@Home segment of the Sunday pre-service. We’d love to hear about it! Simply take a picture or short video and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (pics and videos will look best if submitted in landscape/horizontal format). Please submit your pics and videos no later than Saturday at noon, February 6. We will show the submissions in our February 7 pre-service.
- Obviously, you’ll want to say thanks to the one who thought of you as well.
And that’s it! We are going to run Porch Fires for just one week, so get at it right away. We hope that this will be a way of fostering community and connection during these trying times.