The Parables, Ways to Expand and Group Activities
Below are activities meant to build on Family Activities mentioned in Part One: Helping Families Keep the Season After Epiphany. The ideas mentioned in the first part are designed for families to do as a unit at home. The ideas in part 2 are meant for group activites done in church to expand on the discussions and activities in the home.
Family Service Sunday: Using the theme of the parable, I come up with at least four activities that families with children of all ages, including the very young, can do together. We start as a large group and the parable is told with a very short discussion (this should last no more than ten minutes) and we say a prayer together. We, then, divide by project (each family has chosen their project in advance). For each project, a speaker comes to talk for no more than ten minutes. Then they are taught a new skill or how to do the project, and finally, we work on the project. Someone closes that project group in prayer. For the Parable of the Samaritan, we focused on “Love Thy Neighbor.” The projects were cooking class and cooking a meal for the Ronald McDonald House (we have also had a chaplain for first responders come and made brownies and thank you cards for first responders.) For the Humane Society, after the speaker finished, we made dog toys and blankets for dogs and cats. For our local nursing home, we learned songs and then went to sing there and handed out flowers. We kept the songs simple and did motions so all children could participate. For those who are homebound (in our parish), we had someone come and talk about loneliness, and wrote pen-pal letters and decorated frames with their new pen-pal family picture. For our newborn family ministry, we bought knitting kits from widows in Rwanda and made baby hats to be handed out to the newborns at the hospital.
There are many agencies that will come out and talk about their agency and have ideas or projects groups of families can do.
Godly Play Story and Meal: We invite families for a meal or for pot luck. After the meal, I use Godly Play to tell the parable we are focusing on. This event is mostly about fellowship and shared parable experience.
Lego Parable Night: Setting up four to eight different parable stories on each table, families are encouraged to pick a table with other people at it, as they come in. After eating the meal, the people at each table reads their parable from the Bible (at their table), and discusses it. They then bring the parable to life using Legos. Once they have completed their Lego project, they write a paraphrase of their parable and a prayer to go with it. We compile all the Lego projects on tables in our hallway and the following Sunday, have a Parable Walk for all to see, read, and pray.
Parable Play: This was a big hit with our children and youth. The children and youth got together and rewrote the parable into a play, designed costumes (out of what we had), made set decorations, gathered props and learned a part. We put it on for the adults during our parish retreat, but can be done at a meal or gathering.