Holy Week for Leaders

Amidst the palms and pageants, extra services and rituals, it may be difficult to remember why this week is holy and to hear the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection in a new way as ministry leaders.

So instead of educational activities geared to telling the story to others, which we may have been planning for weeks, today’s post is a collection of resources from around the web that will help us to hear the story anew. The only planning you’ll need to do here is to find 10 minutes or so during this week to read or view some of the following devotional pieces from many different traditions. Continue reading

Holy Week for Children

Many people around the web seem to be searching for resources to help explain the core stories of our faith, celebrated during Holy Week, to young children. In their inquiries I hear a fear and reluctance to talk to children about death and resurrection. Sometimes we hide this fear in metaphor by talking about dogwood blossoms or butterflies, but metaphors are confusing for most children. We will not scare children by talking about death. It surrounds them in the natural world. They play it dramatically in their games. Many see it within their families and community. The fear is more on the part of adults trapped in the cultural taboo of not discussing death, than it is in the minds and hearts of children. Continue reading

Burying the Alleluia: A Lenten Spiritual Practice

Another Lenten practice to either think about for next year or if you are doing this already to live more deeply into this practice

Journey into Faith - Learning, Loving, Leading at Faith United A United Methodist Church

Burying Alleluia SanctuaryFaith’s worship and spiritual formation staff is introducing our congregation to the Lenten spiritual practice of Burying the Alleluia this Lent. While the practice of Burying the Alleluia might be new to Faith UMC, it is an ancient Christian tradition practiced in many faith traditions. Read on to learn more about this Lenten spiritual practice.

Alleluia is a word heard throughout the Christian world regardless of language. Alleluia is the Greek and Latin form of the Hebrew word Hallelujah, a word meaning praise the Lord. In the Western world, Alleluia came to be associated with the celebration of the most important season of the Church year, Easter. The association of Alleluia with Easter led to the custom of intentionally omitting it from liturgy during Lent.  It’s a kind of verbal fast, not with the intention of depressing the mood of our worship services, but instead to create a sense of anticipation…

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Holy Week Box

This is a wonderful idea for sharing the story of Holy Week with young children. Thank you Camille LeBron Powell and Linda LeBron.

Camille LeBron Powell

This is an idea that my mom, Linda LeBron (a fabulous retired church educator), came up with a few years ago. We’ve used it with our moms’ Bible study group. It’s something that families could make together at home, in a class, or even as part of a worship service with interactive prayer stations.

Our family made one with my daughter when she was 3 1/2 years old. It led to some great conversations about communion and ultimately to her taking communion for the first time that Easter.

Here it is:

All of the supplies can be found at a regular craft store: cardboard box with lid (approximately  2″x2″x3″), marker, white fabric, green paper, scissors, simple wooden doll (they came in a bag of 12)

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Cut the green paper to resemble 2 or more palm branches. Shout “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!”…

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Interactive Worship Ideas

At Faith Presbyterian (https://www.facebook.com/faithpresgso), we embrace our traditional worship style and space while making our service accessible and engaging for all. Children and their families are welcome at the front of the sanctuary with activities geared toward their age level. Our family worship guide follows the pattern of the service and offers extra enrichment ideas and activities for children and active learners of all ages.The outline of a traditional worship service centered around The Word is beautiful and quite freeing when we remember that The Word is The Living Word of God – incarnate in Christ, written in scripture, and enacted in the world.

For Lent, we are using a themed sermon series inspired by Rev. Whitney Wilkinson following the “Landscape of Lent.” Each week, we add a new visual element to represent some aspect of the scripture – ashes, wilderness, wind, water, mud, cave, palms, bread – and we will close with Easter in the garden. Continue reading

Digital Lenten Spiritual Discipline

These days, one of the most popular ways to connect with others via social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) is by sharing meaningful photos. The Church has caught onto this trend with themed photo challenges. One of the most widely-known challenges is from the United Methodist Church’s rethinkchurch.org. With the rise in photo-sharing popularity, other organizations, denominations, and even individual congregations have created their own “photo challenges” for Lent and Advent. Each challenge usually assigns a word and Scripture passage to a day in the season, and tasks the participant with seeking out an image that fits the word. When shared, participants are encouraged to use the hashtags provided by the facilitating organization. When a participant clicks the hashtag (e.g. #pictureLent, #Lent2015), all hash-tagged posts appear together. Continue reading