From My Kitchen

Ministry has allowed me to cook up lots of wonderful things. Here you’ll find some of the ideas and resources of which I’m particularly proud and eager to offer to support and nurture other communities of faith.

Resources for Pandemic Worship

Shadow and Light: A Service for a Pandemic Christmas Eve

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Years ago, I attempted a Christmas Eve service where light increased and grew. It didn’t include the familiar singing of Silent Night in the darkened sanctuary and no one was happy about that.

This is my second attempt at moving into more light and more light as the birth of Christ becomes more and more real. Inspired by the Tenebrae tradition that is so familiar to Holy Week celebrations, this flows like a service of Lessons and Carols with song and story weaving together the good news of this birth. 

More and more candles are lit to welcome the Light of the World before Joy to the World is sung with full gusto and glory. Music suggestions are provided for those congregations where musicians are just as weary as pastors. 

This is a complete liturgy for online worship on Christmas Eve.

When the Night Has Already Been So Long: A Service for the Longest Night

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Advent feels as though it started in March when the first stay-at-home orders swept across the country because of the rampant spread of the coronavirus. We have been apart from each other for much of this year which has made 2020 feel like an especially long year.

This is an order of worship for online worship gatherings that is full of scripture, song and prayer for the longest of longest nights.

If you are interested in both of these liturgies for your congregation’s celebrations at the end of this pandemic year, you can find this discounted Shadow and Night Bundle including both complete liturgies.

Resources for the Pandemic

Keeping Watch Under Pandemic Skies
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This meditative experience unfolds from the Wednesday before Advent begins (November 25) and continues through Epiphany Day (January 6) in the outdoor spaces surrounding your church building. Each stop along the path includes a reading from scripture, a reflection, a prayer, a song and an action for meditation and prayer. 

There is a longer path for congregations that have more space to wander on their grounds and a shorter path for those with less space. The shorter path can also be used to provide an accessible route for those that aren’t able to easily traverse uneven ground. Yard sign templates are included, as well as a socially distanced Christmas Eve service and the full set of meditations for Keeping Watch Under Pandemic Skies.

Twinkly Lights in Blue Days Group Discussion Guide
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Perhaps there have been years where you were ready to deck the halls. You relished in the twinkly lights lit up all over town, but this year is different. Grief has come. Your heart has broken and so you can’t approach Christmas as you did before.

This year, you need more space to tend to your sorrow and loss. You don’t want to push these emotions away but feel that rawness echoed in sacred scripture and you want to find a trusted circle to share in naming every lamentation of 2020.

Through selections from scripture and conversation prompts, this discussion guide seeks to lead a group of brave souls to name the losses of this year. Following the four weeks of Advent, the group members are invited into individual exploration with a brief reflection and prayerful questions before the group meets. When the group meets, presumably via internet connection, a template for the conversation is provided so that this small group might practice in naming what hurts most and hopefully finding again that God is here.

Resources for Personal Prayer

Twinkly Lights in Blue DaysAn Advent Devotional for the Grieving and Brokenhearted
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These daily devotions through the blue days of Advent don’t leap into Christmas hope but wander through the aching and longing echoed through sacred scripture. Written from my own experience of loss, these words invite the grieving and brokenhearted to notice that God is here.These tender and honest words aren’t for those that believe that this is the most wonderful time of year, but are instead written with love for those for whom this time of year is very, very hard.

This version has been updated follows the calendar from December 1st to December 24th. It also includes a new resource to continue your grief journey.

Prayer Partners 
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Most of us don’t know how to begin to pray — and far too many are looking for the perfect practice or method. But, there no such thing. Prayer Partners is a friend who will join you on the journey – who will encourage you and nudge you when you’re not doing the things you said you needed. It’s someone that will laugh and cry with you in prayer. It’s someone to talk to about what it means to be a Christian in a changing world. It’s not a method but a relationship.

This resource seeks to guide individuals, pastors and others looking to partner in prayer through the the journey of partnering in prayer.

Resources for Small Groups

Toward Transformation: A Lenten Discovery
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Move toward transformation by choosing one thing — just one thing — in your life that you want to change. In this six-week study, following the readings from the Book of Psalms in Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary, you’ll move through the wide array of human emotion in the Psalms as you realize the power of Resurrection in your very own body.

Do You Have An Idea for a Small Group Ministry?
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This is a wonderful opportunity for a group within or outside of a congregation to find greater connection with their own bodies, each other and God during the Season of Lent.

In eight simple steps, this generic outline provides a simple how to for any lay person to begin to imagine and lead their own small group ministry. Starting with an idea, it lays the groundwork toward realizing growth and renewal for a new group within the life of any congregation.