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 yourself, your family and your church community.
Resources for Pandemic Worship
New Year Epiphanies
Worship to End the Pandemic
We had thought that it couldn’t get any worse after last year. 2020 was cursed and it would only take a simple turn of the calendar page for a new beginning to arise.
That epiphany has not yet come. We are still waiting for that big shift and so it seems that we need to enter this year differently. We need to be open to what might come and prepare our hearts and minds for what God is calling us to next.
This is a service to begin 2022 when we pray that the pandemic will end — but we can never really know what God knows. We can, however, set intentions and look for wonder because there is always wonder to behold.
When the Night Has Already Been Too Long
A Service for the Longest night
Rooted in the ancient psalms of lamentation, this worship opportunity seeks to express what is so difficult to name for the grieving and hopeful.
It was written for 2020 when the pandemic already seemed endless and we had no idea how much more loss there would be. It is a service written for online worship that shares heart and hope.
You can also take advantage of the Shadow and Night Bundle that includes this service and the Shadows and Light service for Christmas Eve.
Shadows and Light
A Service for a Pandemic Christmas Eve
Imagine a Christmas Eve service where light increased and grew. Imagine moving into more light and more light as the birth of Christ becomes more and more real. This is a complete liturgy for online worship on Christmas Eve inspired by the Tenebrae tradition that is so familiar to Holy Week.
It has the familiar rhythm of Lessons and Carols with song and story weaving together the good news of this birth as 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. You can also take advantage of the Shadow and Night Bundle that includes this service and the Longest Night service.
Christmas Eve Under Pandemic Skies
an outdoor worship experience
Written in 2020, this outdoor worship experience provides a socially-distanced opportunity to be together on Christmas Eve to share in the wonder of that old, old story and hear the warmth of familiar carols.
It was written to be a companion to Keeping Watch Under Pandemic Skies, an experience of outdoor prayer stations through Advent and into Epiphany. It is offered here separately for those looking for a safe way to worship together even in a pandemic.
An Easter Pageant for a Pandemic Year
This is story of resurrection and hope as it feels when the pandemic persists. There is hope and new life but it is not the full brass that was once familiar.
Based in the Gospel of Mark and intended for asynchronous online worship, this pageant focuses on the liminal space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is told in seven scenes intended to be filmed in seven different households with suggestions for props, locations and costumes to best set the scene. There are five suggested short video clips to help tell the story in a way that is meaningful within the life of your faith community and two or more narrators that help weave the story together.
I was honored to write this pageant with one of my former youth who is now a student in seminary. Their talent shines through in this wonderful invitation to tell the good news in a meaningful way this year.
Free Resources for Congregations
Fire and Ashes
A RItual to begin the season of Lent
We can emerge from the ashes. We can imagine new life together. We can still be Easter people in a Good Friday world. This brief order of worship can be used at-home by individual families or shared in a corporate worship experience online or in-person centered on the daring belief that lighting a fire might prepare us for the work ahead.
A Service to Share in the Hope of the Resurrection
Adapted from the Easter Watch service from the United Church of Christ’s Book of Worship, this service in the hope of the resurrection has some familiar notes from the Easter Vigil but this one is really focused around quiet contemplation around a bonfire as the sun begins to rise.
It’s a service to welcome the possibility without knowing really what will come next but there are things to wonder and ways to keep our hands busy as we wait for creation to reveal the promise of hope.
This is intended to be a socially-distanced gathering with masks for early on Easter morning. The service concludes just after sunrise when the possibility of the day awaits.
A WORSHIPFUL MOMENT TO BE TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE ON PENTECOST
This is a socially distant experience to be shared as a whole congregation. It’s an opportunity to share in the Pentecost experience where the story isn’t told but felt. Without being a formal liturgy, this kite flying invitation provides structure for conversation and wonder while being outside and praising God.
Resources for Personal Prayer
Twinkly Lights in Blue Days: An Advent Devotional for the Grieving and Brokenhearted
Purchase this resource
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.
Purchase this resource
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
Twinkly Lights in Blue Days Group Discussion Guide
Purchase this resource
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.
A Hopeful Lent
Captivated by the wonderful work Amelia Richardson Dress offers in her recent book by the same name, this is the invitation offered to families in the pandemic season of Lent to take on one small practice each week.
In this 10-page guide, there is a weekly practice to share with your most trusted circle as well as:
+ a blessing from the pages of The Hopeful Family
+ a focus for your children to share in beautiful stories that move us toward hope
+ a series of questions to wonder about how hope might live in you in these days before the power of resurrection becomes real with your partner — or maybe a group of trusted parents from church.
To keep track, there’s a calendar in the last few pages to stick to your fridge to remind you what hope might feel like this week.
There are two options to purchase this resource. Purchase this version for congregational use and this version for family use.
Toward Transformation: A Lenten Discovery
Purchase this resource
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?
Download this free resource
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.