The Village

Our story is so common, a 125 year old congregation, inner-city, wants to minister to the community around it, I’m sure you have heard it all before.

The Facts:
Our average attendance: 170ish
Average Sunday school was: 30ish (all in, all ages)
Most families attended once a month
We have a separate family chapel, attended by substantially more persons than Sunday school hour.

Our take away was that families are interested, but not in our traditional model.
We kept coming back to the old adage “it takes a village…”

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Make Room: A Big Picture View of Lent

When my children were very young I always looked forward to the changing seasons. Inside and outside the church, the turning of the circle brought new colors and sights and smells—plenty of opportunity to explore and create.

My little library of activity books kept us busy. But when it came to Lent I was never satisfied. The kids and I ironed grated crayon on to waxed paper to make stained glass crosses; we made purple paper chains, and hot crossed buns; we even blended and burned our own incense. But something was missing. 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 UMC

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