As part of an outreach project, youth of St James Episcopal Church in Birmingham, MI have hand-colored and laminated paper cutouts of Jesus and sent them all over. As the Episcopal News Service tells us,
The original “flat” character was Flat Stanley... Today, schoolchildren routinely write letters accompanied by Flat Stanleys to friends and family, who provide fun geography lessons by snapping photos of the paper fellow posing at various local sites. Chris Gannon, Flat Jesus handler and minister to youth and adults at St. James, saw something about Flat Jesus online and thought, “Oh, wow, what a cool way to keep our congregation kind of connected over the summer.”…
Gannon created a template and enlisted the parish’s children in coloring a few dozen dolls and distributing them to parishioners to take along on vacation and send photos. …
Word spread. Folks outside St. James began requesting Flat Jesus – about six a day, now – and posted their pictures and conversations about him on the Facebook page. An overflowing bulletin board at the church charts his travels. From June 17 to July 18, 114 Flat Jesuses headed out the door.Flat Jesus is working in lots of places. Here's what he's doing with the Rev Elizabeth Kaeton in hospice and nursing home visits in Delaware. She writes,
"I'm always so deeply moved by the fact that, while so many of these people don't know where they are much less who they are anymore, they still recognize [Flat Jesus]."
|Flat Jesus meets new friends on Brooks' shelf|
Check out his picture next to new friends on the Rev Canon Brooks Mason's bookshelf! --->
Here's the plan. We're asking Flat Jesus to visit around all our ministries and groups and friends at St Paul's--ranging from altar servers, to Urban Collective, to Listening Hearts, to Godly Play, to Lay Eucharistic Ministers, to Dorcas House…. you get the picture.
He may pop up at staff meeting, or join us at Sunday coffee. He might help turn the pages of music for Martin, or hang out in the choir room.
|Flat Jesus checks out Allisyn's office|
I expect he will go to the upcoming family Eucharist and BBQ picnic on Saturday.
If you see Flat Jesus, please take a picture of him, and send it to StPaulBlog@gmail.com with just a couple of sentences of what Flat Jesus was up to.
We'll post these regularly, to mark all of the places community happens at St Paul's.
The only rule? If you're showing him around, you have to take really good care of him...don't lose him!
Because there are a lot of places he has to go, to show the world what St. Paul's has to offer.
Welcome, Flat Jesus, and Thanks, St. James Episcopal, in Birmingham MI, for sending him our way!