Five Creative Ways Your Church Family Can Celebrate Advent this Year
Provided by the Christian Formation Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas
The diocesan Christian Formation Committee offers five creative ways to celebrate the Advent season with your Church Family in the midst of COVID-19. The Christian Formation Committee serves the 87 worshipping communities in the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Their goal is to provide Christian formation resources and to guide congregations in forming disciples of all ages.
1. Provide Resources for At-Home Family Activities from Illustrated Ministry and Vibrant Faith Projects
Families can find Devotionals, Chapel Outlines, and Printable Activities provided by Illustrated Ministry and Vibrant Faith Project, which include:
- Children's Advent bulletins and Chapel outlines
- Family Advent devotions
- Printable Advent wreaths
- Advent coloring pages and posters
- Family tree activity
2. Host an Advent Wreath Making Event
Fill bags with wreath supplies, an advent devotion, and/or calendar, and set up a time for families to drive through and pick them up from the church. Ask families to RSVP to make sure you have enough supplies. Contact Kris Spilker from St. Mark’s, San Marcos at firstname.lastname@example.org for more ideas and support.
3. Offer an Adult Formation Study/Curriculum: "The Holy Gospel According to Luke"
The Rev. Casey Berkhouse from St. John’s, Sonora, has composed a 6 - 8 week study for adults, using The Bible Project’s videos and outline on Luke’s gospel, with modifications. Contact him at email@example.com for more ideas and support.
4. Plan an Outdoor or Virtual Christmas Pageant
Offer an outdoor Christmas pageant on a Sunday morning, with two or three people per scene. This year, invite all generations to participate, using costumes handed out the week before the pageant. Building Faith offers ideas, tips, and scripts, available online, or contact Suzanna Frey Green from St. Luke's, San Antonio at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Kates from St. David's, San Antonio at email@example.com for more ideas and support.
Do Not Be Afraid Virtual Christmas Pageant from Illustrated Ministry offers resources and recorded music for a Virtual Pageant with a Saturday pre-recording of scenes portrayed by two or three people or one household. Families would sign up for specific recording times, to minimize household interactions. This offering requires a video editor to edit and combine the scenes together, then upload to your congregation's Facebook page and/or website for others to view and access.
Las Posadas is another type of pageant that could involve walking around your church property asking different innkeepers if there is room at the inn. This could also happen in one place outside on your property. Download an example script here, and contact Halleta Heinrich from Christ Church, San Antonio, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more ideas and support.
5. Host Family Chapel on the Lawn
This idea combines a children’s chapel service and a typical Godly Play Sunday school class, allowing families to sit outside in a relaxed setting, worship together, and hear a Godly Play lesson. Invite families to bring chairs and blankets from home. The format is flexible depending on the Godly Play story length and also how long the craft will take. While an outdoor setting may not be typical of Sunday School gatherings for songs and stories, a craft and a prayer feels very familiar.
A sample Family Chapel schedule may include:
- Opening Prayer
- Godly Play Story
- Short Response Time (craft)
- Prayer Requests and Closing Prayer
Contact Suzanna Frey Green from St. Luke’s, San Antonio, at email@example.com for more ideas and support.
No matter how your Church Family chooses to celebrate this season of Advent, invite families to send in photographs of their at-home chapel services, finished Advent Wreaths, or coloring pages. Let us share our lights with one another as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.