Earlier this year, all of the branches of Woolworths closed across the UK, so there are no Woolies adverts on TV this Christmas. Many of the shops have remained closed, probably due to the unhelpful economic climate.
I was delighted to hear on the radio this morning that one of the stores had opened again in the run up to Christmas. It's only going to be open for a week - and it's being run by St. Andrews Church in Bo'ness [story here].
I love the thinking behind this decision - to provide an opportunity for people - shoppers - to experience something of the spiritual aspect of Christmas, in the midst of their shopping trip. Taking the good news to where the people are - it's not new in itself, but I like the way that the opportunity of a vacant shop has been taken, it's innovative, it has the potential to capture the imagination of the passers by, and it certainly gives out a positive message about the church.
When I heard this I was reminded of a sermon that I listened to recently. Harvey Carey (preaching at Willow Creek - you can find it here) told the congregation that:
"God is calling you not to be boring anymore... Don't do the same stuff year after year."
I don't think he could level that accusation at the congregation of St Andrew's in Bo'ness - at least, not this year.