Are you beginning to look for great resources for Lent that are suitable for all ages and appropriate for people who are continuing to spend most of their time at home during this pandemic?
If so, I would like to tell you about an exciting resource we’ve been working on for you and your church to use this Lent.
For the last month or so, church educators and leaders from our synod and Foothills Presbytery in South Carolina have been working in collaboration to create weekly, interactive Lent Gardens that are designed to invite us all to read and reflect on the scriptures and stories of this season as we journey together with Jesus and his followers toward Jerusalem. With this garden project we imagined lots of reading and conversation in our homes around these life-changing stories. But, we didn’t want to stop there. We also imagined a broad variety of additional, multi-sensory activities for all ages that connect and expand our understanding and experience of this season. So, we worked with a Google classroom format and have created six interactive gardens that will invite people to open the door to a Lenten world of discovery and transformation.
We imagined a resource that is enjoyable and easy for its users as well as easy for you to upload to your church website, facebook page or share through a weekly email.
So, let me tell you about our weekly Lent Gardens.
We have created six interactive Lent Gardens that begin on Ash Wednesday. People venture into each garden by clicking on the various items they see on the garden slide.
When you click on the book on the park bench you will be taken to a devotional page that includes prayers, daily scripture readings, children’s bible stories, and questions to ponder. These devotions set the stage for all of the other readings, videos and activities you can enjoy each week. The devotions follow the Revised Lectionary and include all of the lectionary passages for that week, along with a few connected passages that help us reflect on the texts each week.
Clicking on the little library boxes will reveal one or two video bible story readings out of great bible story books commonly used by our churches. Each week features a new reader from our midst, with some weeks featuring the author of the story being read. Click on the guitar? Well music of course! Each week a videoed piece of music connected to the weekly Lenten theme is sung and taught by a talented leader from the synod or Foothills Presbytery.
The door? It’s not just for decoration. It opens up a world of labyrinth tours and activities for you to discover. The picnic basket? Why great recipes of course; recipes that connect to the bible stories, and recipes families can make together as they celebrate the theme of the week. How about the hanging flower basket? Since we’re in a garden we’ll need some garden activities and ideas to enjoy. And finally, our garden gnome will take us a craft adventure for all ages.
Now if you’re rushing to click on the picture above. I sorry to say this screen shot of the weekly garden is not live yet. But, it will be very soon.
If you’d like to be one of the first to see the interactive gardens live you can join me next week for a Zoom Launch Party. There you will be able to check out some of the music, stories and activities for yourself. There will also be time for conversations about other Lent ideas you might want to consider and find out details about current publishers resources.
The Zoom launch will be on Wednesday, January 20th at 7 pm ET. To receive an invite to the party please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you an invite right away.
If you want to receive the links for all of the Lent Gardens you don’t have to attend the Zoom Launch Party to get them. Just email me at email@example.com and ask to receive them. Once they are complete (within the next two weeks or so) you will receive an email with all of the garden links, screen shots and detailed instructions for uploading for your church. You will be asked within the email to hold off uploading each week’s garden until the week it is scheduled for. That way each week is a new opportunity to journey through Lent together as a church family.
Finally, if you have been doing the math, you will be wondering, “What about Holy Week?” We are working on that now. If you subscribe to the Lent Gardens you will receive an additional link and screen shot of an interactive Holy Week slide that will look different from our garden. This Holy Week slide will invite participation on a daily basis as we travel through the scriptures, stories and significant activities of Holy Week and Easter. That slide will be emailed to you during Lent in time for you to review it and upload it for Holy Week.
I hope you’re getting excited and sign up for the launch party and the links. We’re excited to be able to provide them.