Many families travel for long periods of time during the Summer or use Summer as a chance to withdraw from activities to rest. As we are currently in an unusual Summer, with social distancing facing our Summer, it is more important than ever to find ways for families to practice and grow in faith. If the activities or kits come from their Church, then it connects them to their church family and reminds them they have a place that cares for them.
Usually, I would do a “Church on the Go” bag filled with activities and ways to worship while away. But being away from the building is the “normal” for Summer 2020. Beyond live-streaming, here are some ways to help families keep “church”.
*Flat Jesus or bendable Jesus: Mail out to each family (or have a pick up location) a Jesus to color, or one that is completed and laminated or a toy bendable Jesus (click on link to find this). With it come these instructions:
1. Give them three or four parables to read, suggesting one a week. Give a few “I wonder” or discussion questions with each parable. They are to take their Jesus and find ways to show the parable. Give them a place (email, dropbox, etc.) to send these photos then at the end of the Summer, make a parable book to give out (using copy machine, Shutterfly, etc.)
2. Give them the “I AM” statements and have them show who Jesus was, doing as above through taking pictures. Have some discussion questions for each “I AM” statement.
3. Give them some of Jesus miracles or a paraphrase of the Sermon on the Mount. Let the families take photos of the things they are thankful for and where they find God.
*Give them a picture of your altar (5 x 7 at least) along with copies of Morning Prayer and readings. Before the family does Morning Prayer together, have them create a sacred space including the picture of the altar. Give them a theme for each week to decorate the space or table (i.e. God’s creation: collect flowers, rocks, pictures of animals or stuffed animals). Tell them that even though we are not together, we are all the church and our worship is beyond places.
*Send out a coloring page of a stained-glass window or outside of your church. Have the families use that as a template to color. Have it say on the back, “We prayed for you today. Church Name loves you.” Have them pray for people and leave it on their doorstep.
*Give them some short lines from Psalms that are about joy and love. Have them write the lines on a rock, decorate the rock with paint or permanent marker, and leave in places where they go. Each week, release another psalm with a prayer the family can say over their creation.
*Choose a Bible story for the Summer theme. For each week for six weeks give them something to do with that story. For example, the first week would be telling the story with some discussion questions. The second week would be a craft that goes with the story. The third week would be a science experiment that goes with the story. The third week would be an outreach project that goes with the story. The fourth week would be a game that goes with the story. The fifth week would be food focused (make something). The sixth week would be a video of the story or watch a recording of someone talking about the story.