Bringing ashes home. Often Ash Wednesday services are later then young children's bedtimes. Too often we blame young families for not coming to such a solemn service on the tone of the service and not the fact that the time is inconvenient or that it's too long for a young child to sit quietly at night. Is there a way for households to pick up ashes to bring home? To share around candlelight at their own kitchen tables saying the simple words "You are dust and to dust you shall return," on the foreheads of each other?
An Illustrated Labyrinth Meditation: Ash Wednesday - This resource is perfect for those of you looking for a quiet, meditative resource for Ash Wednesday. Additionally, the resource includes directions to use it personally, but also with groups. When you purchase An Illustrated Labyrinth Meditation: Ash Wednesday, you will receive:
Some background information about Ash Wednesday, which may be interesting to share with your group
Directions for using the meditation individually or with a group
A scripture labyrinth and refrain page to guide your meditation
An illustrated activity page to share your intentions for Lent
A closing prayer
A beautifully illustrated hand-drawn labyrinth
Ash Wednesday - An at-home Ash Wednesday fire can be done around a small fire pit in any backyard, on a roof top, on the beach, or on your deck. The activity can be large-scale with a community; or small-scale around a group of candles or indoor fireplace.
Ash Wednesday Prayer Stations designed for families with young children - From Victoria Hoppes at Resurrection Lutheran Church in IN:
If I could, I used the Spark Story Bible for the Scripture readings. There were a few texts that are not in the story Bible, so I created story cards instead. I printed, colored, and laminated the cards. The Stations of the Cross stations include objects for families to put in a take-home bag. As children arrived, they decorated a paper lunch sack and that became the take-home bag. We also sent home a sheet with a reminder of the objects and stories (those went in the bags).
Palm Sunday Video- thanks to Brooke DeJong and her awesome youth group, they creatively bring the Bible story "home."
Interactive Prayer Stations for Lent - from Pastor Theresa Cho. Offering adult all the way through toddler suggestions.
What is Lent in a Bag?
Great for sending from the congregation out to the "domestic church" by distributing small bags (cloth, paper, or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season which assists individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. In addition to the items, include instructions, and reflections (on purple paper of course) to go with each item. Included here are many different takes on this.
Lenten coloring calendars from Sybil MacBeth and Praying in Color.
The Book of Comic Prayer: Using Art and Humor to Transform Youth Ministry by Heather J. Annis - Consider this Lenten exercise from her book about making a Lenten comic and asking..."If you were a superhero, what power would you give up for Lent? Plus other GREAT questions.
Free Family Lenten devotional by Pastor Ariel Williams.
Videosforyoursoul.com - Daily videos for the 40 days of Lent.
Online Courses on Racial Justice
ChurchNext, in partnership with Trinity Institute, is offering free online series on racial justice, for all who desire to journey deeper into faith with a five week series that aligns well with Lent.
GenOn Ministries is here to help you in a variety of ways. We have Holy Week, Eastertide, and Spring resources for your church families to use at home. What is a family? Parents with children, couples, singles, older adults. Our resources are for any kind of family to gather around a table for a meal, Bible study, activity and prayer time with Sunday LIFT at Home.
Resources are downloadable and can easily be e-mailed to your church's families in time for the start of Holy Week.The price includes permission to email the session to as many families as you like in your church.
Some options for Holy Week, Eastertide, Spring:
Remembering with the Disciples based on Luke 22:7-20. Families will remember the elements of the Last Supper and talk about the importance of remembering for our faith. This session is being offered for free to help during the current challenges.
Unit: Sunday LIFT Year 1 Spring Palm Sunday, Easter, and New Life.
Judas and Peter Betray Jesus based on Mark 14:43-50, 66-72. Recall the story of betrayal and abandonment of the Messiah by those who had been his most faithful followers, and imagine the feelings of being betrayed as well as betraying someone else.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples based on Luke 24:13-35. Experience the road to Emmaus story and explore the significance of the resurrection for life and faith.
Belonging to God
Remember that we belong to God and God’s family. Share a snack of pomegranates, guacamole, and tortilla chips. Read and discuss Psalm 100:3; Romans 14:8; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 John 3:1. Being offered for free.
God's Promise is for All
Jonah is called to go to the Ninevite people and he is reluctant. What happens when Jonah finally goes? Share a snack of fruit turnovers. Read and discuss Jonah 3-4.
Does your church have a healing/prayer station during Lent? If so consider serving at the station as a family. Even young kids can make the sign of the cross on someone's forehead. They may even be comfortable saying the prayer too!
Illustrated Children's Ministry has Lenten Coloring Posters which have the promise of bringing all ages together for perhaps a new Lenten discipline for families or congregations.
Flame: Creative Kids - Family Lent Activities
Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary and illustrated by Ann Boyajian. Simple language focusing on welcoming space for God with activities like cleaning a room, making bread and inviting a neighbor for supper as acts of justice and kindness.
Intergenerational Taize - Interactive and meaningful for all ages.
Praying the Psalms -LEAD offers a FREE resource for your home and congregation. Using the assigned Psalms (The Message) from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year C), the resources include:
40-Day “Love Builds Up” Family Challenge
SALT’s “40-Day ‘Love Builds Up’ Family Challenge” For each of the six weeks of Lent, read that week’s Bible passage together. Talk as a family about the suggested topic, using the devotional’s optional conversation prompts and commit to taking on an action or practice for that week. SALT teamed up with Rev. Quinn Caldwell - author, pastor, and preacher extraordinaire! It comes with an editable page on which you can enter any events on your family’s calendar - service projects, upcoming worship services, and other Lenten activities - before printing. The result is a devotional that looks and feels like your own, integrated into the life of your family and congregation.
Listening at the Cross - A resource from Methodist minister and author Jan Richardson
Stations of the Cross - 15 brief video presentations
Breaking the Chains: A Family-Friendly Lenten Devotional - From SALT, this printable provides everything you need to build a 40-link paper chain, inviting all of us to let words of Scripture and daily practices of liberation be our guides through this mysterious season. Each day, break a link in the chain (purple links for the 40 days of Lent, and white links for the 7 Sundays) and take part in God's chain-breaking, art-making, world-changing grace - all the way to the joyful freedom of Easter morning!
Wow! Talk about daily Lenten inspiration. Best used with middle school age and up. Great for parents and youth leaders alike.
for 2020, a FREE Family Lenten devotional edited by Pastor Heather Roth Johnson.
Don't Forget to Pray from 2019
Feast on This Table: Table Talk for Families from 2018.
Coloring Holy Week (Downloadable PDF) - From Chalice Press written by Jesse Turri, Natalie Ann Bower, Christopher D. Rodkey
Download 25 coloring pages and get ready to color the Easter story!
Wrestling with Wonder - Pastor Jen from Lutherhill Lutheran Camp and her sweet assistant Emma tell us story of the empty tomb and Christ's resurrection.
Holy Week@Home - And inter-generational resource of 10 pages that walk through 9 stories of Holy Week. Written by Lutheran Pastor Janelle Rozek Hooper, Program Director for Ministry with Children.
Jesus' Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday Family Message 4/5/2020)
Pastor Alex and his kids put together a hilarious video from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Cinncinnati.
Holy Moly - Four Bible Stories for Holy Week and Easter
The Bread of Life (PDF download) - by Nancy Cocks from the Iona Community comes an all-age communion for Lent.
Focusing on bread and including a drama script and a child-friendly communion service.
Prayer Stations - See all of Presbyterian Pastor Theresa Cho's years of Lenten prayer stations here.
Maundy Thursday Stripping the Domestic Church table - Stripping of the altar (removing all ornaments, linens, candles, plants, flowers, etc.) is an ancient custom of the Church. Congregations mark the way Christ’s life was stripped from him by stripping the altar of all signs of life and beauty during a special service. This almost-bare worship space reminds us of the bareness of life without the hope of Christ that we have through His resurrection.
Picture the Bible - Holy Week: From the UCC comes a book that offers:
One Bread, One Cup, One People: An Intergenerational Event on the Lord's Supper - from the Christian Reformed Church comes a well outlined discussion and activity for all ages. Could be used Maundy Thursday.
Maundy Thursday with Children - The early evening service has three stations: a long, common table for Eucharist and our shared meal; an area for drawing our footprints on a large cloth; and an area for foot-washing.
Digital Resources for Holy Week Worship Services - from LEAD, and created by Matthew O’Rear, each liturgy includes a full set of PowerPoint slides that can be used as is or customized for your own congregation.
Resources from Methodist Pastarist Jan Richardson
Holy Thursday: At the Table, Speaking of Love
Holy Thursday: Blessing the Bread, the Cup
Holy Thursday: Take a Blessing
Day 38/Holy Thursday: Cup of the New Covenant
Holy Thursday: Feet and Food
Good Friday: Speaking, Still
Good Friday: Still
Good Friday: A Blessing for What Abides
Day 39/Good Friday: They Took the Body of Jesus
Good Friday: In Which We Get Nailed
Holy Saturday: Anticipate Resurrection
Holy Saturday: Breathe
Holy Saturday: Vigil
Holy Saturday: In the Breath, Another Breathing
Day 40/Holy Saturday: Therefore I Will Hope
Holy Saturday: The Art of Enduring
Holy Saturday: A Day Between
Easter Sunday: Where Resurrection Begins
Easter Sunday: This Is Not the End
Easter Sunday: While It Was Still Dark
Easter Sunday: A Blessing for the Rising
Easter Sunday: Seen
Easter Sunday: Out of the Garden
Using Jan’s words
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.
Holy Week Sermons from Texas Bishops -
Use them and engage in self-care.
Maundy Thursday Bishop Michael Rinehart
Texas – Louisiana Gulf Coast, Good Friday
Good Friday Bishop Sue Briner
Southwestern Texas, Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday Bishop Erik Gronberg
Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana
A Service of Art, Music, and Readings for Holy Week - a FREE resource from Ashely Danyew who organized this service template by symbols and places mentioned in the story - light, water, table, garden, courtyard, cross, darkness. Notice that the service begins with “light" and ends with “darkness."
Easter Sunrise at Home - An Easter sunrise breakfast is just the sort of tradition that families can make their own.
Palm Sunday Discovery Basket - Creative touch and feel objects to help experience the Palm Sunday story.
Living Easter (PDF download) - by Nancy Cocks
An all-age communion for Easter Sunday and incorporating a rooster’s view of the Resurrection.
How to reinvent the Easter Egg Hunt and make it missional - Easter egg hunts can reflect the values and gifts of your congregation, rather than being all about shoving one another out of the way to get more candy. The Rev. Rebecca Nelson Edwards describes how her church moved from hoarding chocolate to sharing the mission of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, using eggs filled with ‘outreach dollars’ to share. Of course, candy was available for everyone, too!
This is the Mystery of Easter -by Amelia Richardson Dress (Author), Lilly Moore (Illustrator). In this retelling of the story of Easter, kids and adults are invited to wonder together about the power of love to overcome injustice and fear. With the gentle refrain, "love God, love yourself and love everyone else," This is the Mystery of Easter is simply and profoundly told.
Virtual Egg Hunt - From Lee Yates: UCCs are running a Virtual Easter Egg Hunt, starting April 1 -- across websites of congregations and ministries. We are hosting it from the So. Cal Conference - https://www.scncucc.org/egg-hunt-2020. Congregations and ministry partners are hiding images of eggs on their websites. Some are clickable to share - others are doing codes for people to collect. There is a hashtag system for sharing that could connect us all if others wanted to join in.
Jesus is Risen - a pop-up book that goes all the way through Ascension and Pentecost! by writer/artist Agostino Tranini through Sparkhouse.
Growing in God's Love: A Story Bible by Elizabeth F. Caldwell and Carol A. Wehrheim, editors. This book invites wonder and engagement as seen on p. 276 for the Easter story that ends with, " could it be true...was Jesus really alive?"
Recognizing the Resurrected Jesus - from Nathanael Vissia, If anyone is looking for an at-home interactive Easter lesson for families, here's the one I made for my church that uses Google Slides as a delivery device.
Easter Bingo! - You can even format it to your context thanks to Sara Ray and Michelle Mote from Texas.