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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"