23 November 2023
Christmas brings joy to many and stress for some. When Christmas makes us feel anxious or inadequate, scratch beneath the surface and you can discover the extraordinary moments waiting to be found.
The Methodist Church has launched its 2023 Christmas film, Out of the Ordinary, today.
The film features the emotional, relatable story of a young mother facing financial struggles at Christmas, who, during a visit to Methodist church, is transported to an animated, angelic world where she discovers that she is worthy to both love and to be loved.
Watch the film
To accompany the film, there are “scratch-off” Christmas cards as resources, both real and digital, showing how we can all discover the “extraordinary” within our daily lives. Methodist Churches will be distributing these scratch-off Christmas cards at services and events, as well as using them for invitations in their local community. There is also the opportunity to sign up for daily digital advent reflections and a new arrangement of the Christmas carol, O little town of Bethlehem, is used as the soundtrack to the film and will be released as a single.
Ben Lawrence, Digital Content Producer for the Methodist Church, directed the film and wrote the new arrangement for the carol. Describing the story presented in the film, Ben explained,
“Out of the Ordinary is a story of hope, with a mum-to-be struggling with the cost of living crisis stumbling upon a glowing manger in a Methodist Church. Here, she discovers a pair of virtual reality goggles that transports her to an animated world where she encounters an angel-like being. After being freed from a symbolic cage, she can see the world from a new perspective. The mum-to-be leaves the animated world as the virtual reality goggles run out of battery, but she realises that there has been a change that has carried back through with her. The film shows us that everyone is out of the ordinary because of God’s love for them.
“The opportunity to write a new arrangement of a much-loved carol to accompany the film was exciting. As a musician myself, crafting a bespoke soundtrack to a film gives us the opportunity to truly tell the story in the way that we want to. We’re really excited to release the full track as the Methodist Church’s first ever single.”
Ben Hollebon, Director of Digital for the Methodist Church, commented, “The last few years haven’t been easy for many, so we wanted to show that despite the struggles we face, God’s love waits patiently for a moment to change everything.
“The Out of the Ordinary campaign will also be sharing daily advent reflections via email, celebrating the global heritage of the Methodist Church and its hidden treasures. There are also physical and digital cards to share, where “scratching” beneath the surface shows us some of those gifts that are just out of sight.
“Our Christmas campaign does two things. It reassures those who watch that everyone is worthy of the Christmas message of love and hope; and it offers our local churches a way to connect with those in their community seeking a church where they can celebrate and worship this Christmas.”
More details, the film and an opportunity to sign up for emails to discover the Out of the Ordinary campaign can be found on our website: methodist.org.uk/OutOfTheOrdinary along with an invitation to local Methodist church services.
- Church resources for Advent and Christmas are available on our website: methodist.org.uk/ChristmasResources
- Out of the Ordinary was filmed at Chapel Field Road Methodist Church in Norwich
- Last year’s Christmas campaign from the Methodist Church, There is Room, reached more than half a million people on social media, with content from Methodist churches and communities increasing that number to around 1.4 million people.
- The Methodist Church is an inclusive, evangelistic and justice-seeking church.