FIG-Families In the Garden

Is your church searching for a family activity that moves slowly into an expanded social bubble while providing an opportunity for the congregation to begin to “regather” in person on your campus? Why not be a FIG and DIG?

family in the garden (003)
Children of God, of all ages, are looking for ways to connect beyond screens. Church activities have been fairly two dimensional in the last few months. Now, we are all ready to head outdoors and back to working together doing kingdom work with kingdom hands. Second Presbyterian Church is reviving one such project called FIG. The “Green Team” tends the Northside Community Garden to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the Northside Ministry’s Food Pantry. They collaborated with the Children’s Ministries Team to include members of all ages. Three years ago, a program called “FIG” began.
“FIG” is a collaborative partnership between the Community Garden and the Children’s Ministries program. It stands for Families in the Garden.

Pastor Chris in the garden (003)
The parable of the fig (Luke 21:29-33) gives us a marvelous moment to remember that summer will follow winter. Summer was always coming, but we need to “see for (our) selves.” The wonders of the world can remind us that the “Kingdom of God is near” even though it was always there. Being a FIG is a good way to re-enter into the face-to-face fellowship of congregational life.
How does the program work? Be a FIG and Come to DIG!
Community garden volunteers meet families on Wednesday nights in the summer and help them provide fruits and vegetables for the Northside Ministries Food Pantry. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance, they gather from 4:00 pm until dark. The program begins with a self-paced devotion that includes questions for all ages. Rest in the comfortable seating and know that “you’ve got mail.” The mailbox holds a short scripture and family devotion.

seating area FIG (003)

The devotion sheet’s back provides a list of tasks suggested for all ages from “smalls to talls.” (You will see two example files below of these devotional sheets.)
Each FIG has a chance to DIG:
Devotion time
I Wonder Questions
Good works

kids in the garden no faces (003)
What if it rains?
In case of rain, the Food Pantry welcomes families to restock shelves and load food or household items into clients’ vehicles for a no-touch act of service that is a virtual hug from God.
Here is a fun fact: it is a wasp that makes a fig tree bear fruit; it is a teeny tiny wasp. For that reason, you KNOW everyone is welcome in the Garden! Be a FIG and gather your Family In the Garden.

Psalm 46 FIG Devotion Sample File      Psalm 96 FIG Devotion Sample

Join Kat and Pastor Chris Henry on the HOPE4CE Facebook page for a Facebook Live on Wednesday, July 1, at 5:00 pm EDT from the Northside Ministries Community Garden.

Profile pic (002)  Kathryn, “Kat,” is the Coordinator of Children’s Ministries at Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis.  She collaborates across the church’s ministry areas to create programs with a “child-sized-bite” of the congregation’s service, formation, mission, and worship.  Contact Kat through the HOPE4CE facebook page for more information. She is also a member of the Hope4CE Steering Committee.

Water @This Point

Almost ten years ago, Columbia Theological Seminary inaugurated a new online journal, @ this point: theological investigations in church and culture. The goal of the journal was straightforward: to model (and encourage) theological conversation among Christian laity on important topics of the day and, therein, help shape a more theologically literate church. The format, too, was straightforward: invite a scholar to write a lead essay on an assigned topic, ask three other scholars to write responses to the lead essay, and then have the lead essayist write a reply to the responses. The back-and-forth is intended not to foreclose conversation or thought but to open them up; as such we ask the scholars to end with questions, not criticisms and to highlight new ideas rather than simply assessing old ones. And we strongly encourage our writers to be brief but thoughtful and to avoid academic jargon where possible. “Think of your audience as the people sitting in the pews with you,” we tell them. “They may have college degrees, but those degrees aren’t likely to be in religion or philosophy. So think about the engineer or the schoolteacher in your midst.” Continue reading

Peace Garden

After Easter—Spring and Summer in the Garden! Wondering what to do with kids and adults in Ordinary time? Go outside!!! Our Christian Education team invited adults’ and children’s classes to come out to the Sweetwater Garden behind our church to make a Peace Garden. This garden is part of the Wylde Center neighborhood gardens. We enlisted folks who could help us but were not the usual teachers: a person who volunteered in the garden, another to build benches out of recycled wood, an artist to help paint the benches and the peace pole we erected as well as a bird bath that we decorated with mosaic tiles. Continue reading

Climate Justice

Dana Waters is a current Masters of Divinity Student at Columbia Theological Seminary. He also serves in youth ministry. This lesson plan speaks to the conversation we are having in the Facebook group today on Christian Education beyond the walls of the church.


I created this lesson plan after I realized that everyone in my youth group had learned about climate change at school and many other places, but it had never been discussed at church– not even once. How could this be? Continue reading