As we prepared for Easter, the Senior Pastor and I, both interim, looked for a way to help our congregation find comfort, articulate their faith and grow in faith.
An Idea for the Easter Vigil
Early in the pandemic the congregation was invited to keep a journal –excerpts from which we hoped to use in on-line publications and formats, but folks were unsure of what to focus on. In order to help our congregation explore their faith through the journals, I developed what I called “The Building Blocks of Faith” project. It began with a simple assignment for the Great Vigil of Easter. I asked members to send me a photo of themselves and their families holding a lit candle. I popped the pictures into a slide show and our organist posted music to accompany it. Folks really enjoyed seeing each other, so I expanded the idea by designing presentations focusing on a specific aspect of faith.
Exploring Meaningful Questions
Our goal continues to be helping our congregation find comfort, articulate their faith and grow in faith. Our first two projects were:
- · What is your favorite hymn and why?
- · What gives you hope?
I titled each of these presentations with a hymn, “It is Well with Our Souls” and “All Our Hope on God is Founded.” Our organist recorded the hymns to play along with the slide shows. These presentations were an instant hit!
People have enjoyed getting to know one another this way and the presentations have generated deeper conversations on our Zoom Coffee Hours. Our third presentation “Guide Our Feet, Lord”—reflecting on the people and events in our lives that have guided our faith journeys—is in progress. We will continue exploring together over the summer months and I am developing further themes to share in this same way. Following “Guide Our Feet, Lord”, the next two presentations and their hymns will be:
- · What is your favorite Bible story and why? “I Love to Tell the Story”
- · How do you live your faith in the world? “Make Me a Servant”
I will continue to develop these presentations as themes emerge from the congregation.
The Project Is Still Evolving!
This project has helped all of us at the Eliot Church of Newton see the Holy Spirit at work and is feeding us as we continue to worship apart during this time. It does require some technical knowledge; I created the first two slideshows before I figured out how to embed the music into the Power Point slide show before converting to an mp4 and uploading to our YouTube site and then posting to our website. Now that I have learned the steps, it goes pretty quickly. Check out our presentations at All-Church Adventures in Faith and consider how your questions might reflect the needs of your congregation.
Dr. Elizabeth Windsor is the Interim Director of Christian Education at the Eliot Church (UCC) of Newton in Newton, Ma. In a 30 year career as a Christian educator, she has been an ecumenical magpie, working in Episcopal, United Methodist and UCC congregations in the Northeast. Visit her Christian Formation website: Faithful Families.