Rosalie May Sugrue of Aotearoa/New Zealand has a new book out that resources groups of any age for the church year, and has particular offerings for Lent and Easter. Since we are in the midst of Lent I will go ahead and share a piece of hers from the resource Gifts in Open Hands which started this blog. Yes, it is set for after Easter. But, yes, it is also focused on concerns of disability and those issues become so clear on March 30 when we focus on the person born with blindness. Adaptations are possible. Below the prayer of intercession and benediction is information about her new Theme Scheme and Ten Plays (recommend this as an user friendly resource that works in any congregation.
Prayer of intercession
God of our yesterdays and God of our tomorrows
we ask that you be with us now, God of our today.
We are an Easter People!
We have experienced the resurrection,
Yet often we behave like your pre-Easter followers,
uncertain and unprepared.
Help us claim our Easter heritage
and live with confidence.
Equip us for what is to come.
Help us to travel light
carrying what is best from the past to the future.
God of Vision and New Possibilities
open our hearts and minds to the reality of your presence.
God of Light illuminate the dark places of our lives.
We are not perfect people.
Come through the cracks of our imperfections and fill us with your light.
We pray for all marginalized people.
Those who suffer discrimination because of: gender, race,
sexual orientation, physical or mental impairment.
Give them strength and belief in their worth.
We pray for those active in discrimination,
and those who allow it to happen.
May they know what they do.
May they understand the hurts they cause.
We gather our thoughts in this sacred place
knowing that you have heard each sincere desire.
We long for a time when all people are valued.
May our unconditional love flow from us to others
May it swirl and curl through this year
embracing all who seek a better life. Amen
One: With your help O God:
All: We reject victim mentality – we will live as survivors
We will do the best we can – we will be people of faith.
One: For the God who walks on wounded feet and heals with wounded hands,
For the God who stands beside us wounded, all knowing and all loving,
For the God of imperfections,
All: We go into our wonderful and imperfect world to reflect God’s perfect love,
and in so doing, claim what it is to be truly human.
Theme Scheme offers themed activities, games and quizzes, for small groups who meet regularly. It contains wealth of creative ideas for both young people and elderly folk. The concept arises from a philosophy of caring, sharing and having fun together. The ideas are practical, requiring minimal equipment, resources and time to prepare; all have been tested and enjoyed.
The first section covers the year, month-by-month, and includes international anniversaries, national days, organisations and causes.
The second section is particularly for Church groups with suggestions for Special Sundays and church related activities throughout the Liturgical year. This section also notes related play-readings in the companion book Ten Plays – short, easy dramas for churches.
There is a large games section covering parlour games, party games, large-space games for active young people, and Christmas games.
The final section includes material for themed quizzes and general trivia competitions, plus themed Bible topics.
Both Theme Scheme and Ten Plays are available as Amazon eBooks.
Below are two ‘Lent and Easter’ extracts…
Lent and Easter (main section)
Occur in February, March and April and relate to the northern hemisphere seasons. Lent from Latin lenten meaning lengthening as of daylight. Easter is named after the goddess of spring, Eostre.
Learn about Lent and Easter traditions and customs, e.g. Mardigras, Carnival, Ash Wednesday, Easter buns, eggs…
Have an Easter quiz and award an egg shaped chocolate for each first correct answer.
Play egg and spoon games, e.g. races or pass an egg from spoon to spoon.
Activities: Dye hardboiled eggs. Decorate egg shapes with scribble patterns then stick them onto a large sheet of paper with scribble patterns – stick onto a large sheet of paper with pre-drawn drawn basket; make egg-shaped cards.
Play the ‘Sliding Bunnies’ game (instructions in games section).
Arrange a Shrove Tuesday pancake race.
Make or Decorate: Easter Bonnets and have a fashion parade:
Read the Play ‘Easter Women’ from Ten Plays – short easy dramas for Churches.
Consider the intention of Lent – time of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter.
Give up something for Lent.
Refrain from eating Easter Eggs until Easter Sunday.
Hold a Passover Supper of lamb, herbs and unleavened bread.
Request and Support an outdoor dawn service Easter Day (hill-top or beach).
Wear festive hats to church Easter Sunday.
Provide and hide Easter Eggs for the church children to find after the Easter Sunday service.