Category Archives: Seasonal Ideas

Salvation History on a Paschal Candle

The Ascension (hand of God and Omega symbols)The Paschal Candle is a large, white candle used in Western Christianity in such traditions as the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Churches. Lit during the season of Easter and at special liturgies of Holy Baptism and funerals, “Paschal” comes from Pesach, which is Hebrew meaning “Passover,”  relating to the Paschal mystery of salvation. Dedicated during the Great Vigil of Easter, the Paschal Candle is symbolic of the eternal light of Christ – the Alpha and Omega: the beginning and the end; it symbolizes the eternal light of Christ from the beginning of Creation to the end of time.

Typically these candles are sold with decals and/or wax decorations on them from a variety of church supply companies. They can be very ornate or very simple. In recent years  hollow candle “shells” have become available to fill with oil in order to be used over and over again, not burning down as a traditional beeswax candle might after much use.

Many years ago when I was the Director of Children’s Ministries at my home parish, I asked my daughter and her friend if they wanted to decorate a special Paschal Candle, to replace the church’s previous years’ candle that could no longer be used again.  I gave them carte blanche to design the candle as long as the traditional components were present: the cross with incense points, the date, and the Greek letters  α  (Alpha) and Ω (Omega). I provided the supplies: a blank, white Paschal candle, incense points (taken from the “old” Paschal candle), small sheets of colored beeswax sheets, and a Book of Common Prayer. Continue reading Salvation History on a Paschal Candle

Lent Picks for 2016

lent2013Lent is just a week away, so hopefully your congregation has planned the programming and ordered the needed resources. But perhaps it came up on you too quickly or you are looking for a personal resource for devotion on your own.

Download these ideas I put together for Church Publishing’s In Service e-newsletter for February 2016: ChristianFormationIdeasLentYearC

Below are the resources I will personally be using this year. Brand new (for 2016), you may also want to consider them – there is still time!

Under The Fig Tree full rgbUnder the Fig Tree: Visual Prayers and Poems for Lent by Roger Hutchison is a short little book with an image and reflection for each day of Lent. Scripture verses are offered for each of the 40+ days also if you desire to dig deeper into the scripture that Roger focused on in creating his painting and poem. Continue reading Lent Picks for 2016

Full Circle Back – To Advent

CircleofChurchYearNext Sunday begins a new year – in the Christian Church, that is. It is the First Sunday of Advent and I’m beginning to prepare the Godly Play lesson I’ll be sharing at St. Matthew’s in Wilton – the Circle of the Church Year. It’s always a good reminder of where we have come and where we will continue to go. God’s love, like the Advent wreath, is circular, never-ending, and full of mystery.

As I write on my Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education website (based on my book with the same name), each time we journey through the church year we are different. Over time the seasons transform us. As we pass through each day, each season, the end of one journey positions us to step into the beginning of the next. The seasons of this calendar allow us to return again and again to the expectancy of Advent or the solemnity of Lent, to reconsider our lives and the way in which we are living them.

Continue reading Full Circle Back – To Advent

More Links for Lent

Time_Badge_720x300There are plenty of great ideas created by others for delving deeper into the meaning of Lent and making a space at home and church for reflecting on this penitential season. Here are some of my favorites!

Lent in a Bag by Shawn Schreiner and Vicki Garvey involves distributing small bags (cloth, paper, or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season to assist individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. In addition to the items, you can include instructions, and reflections (on purple paper of course) to go with each item.

Lenten Giving Calendar for 2015 from Jenifer Gamber offers a colorful poster to download and print (free!). Jenifer shares, this Lenten Giving Calendar is an opportunity to practice the act of giving. Each day the calendar invites you to acknowledge and give thanks for God’s abundance in your life and return that abundance in gratitude as a gift of pennies, nickels, and quarters to others. This Lent, let’s clean house, replacing habits that keep us from new life in Christ to a practice of gratitude and giving. Continue reading More Links for Lent

Resources for Lent in 2015

I’m always being asked for my “Top Ten List” on a variety of topics. Since Lent is just two short weeks away, hopefully you’ve already made your plans and spread the word to those in your congregation. But just in case, these are my top picks (a mix of perennial favorites alongside some new offerings) for a variety of ages and stages to take along on the Lenten journey. Download Church Publishing’s Lent 2015 catalog for more ideas.

For children:

KitchLentWhat We Do in Lent: A Child’s Activity Book. Designed for children four to seven years old, Anne Kitch’s gentle text explains the seasons of Lent and Easter through 41 pages of coloring and solving puzzles as the reader builds their vocabulary and walks with Jesus to Jerusalem. Perfect for home use (it has a parent guide) or to place in children’s worship bags with a box of crayons. Continue reading Resources for Lent in 2015