Although I have been involved with conversations about equipping families to engage in faith formation practices at home for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to be creative about how we provide content for faith formation and spiritual formation in the home. For our congregation, one way we help households learn and grow together is by providing “kits” — boxes filled with prayers, conversation starters, devotionals, and hands-on activities with which all ages can engage.
We offered formation kits regularly in 2020 and 2021, but our most popular one were themed specifically for the seasons of Advent and Lent. For many people, the contents of these kits helped them connect to liturgical practices and traditions when they could not participate in the seasonal activities that we would typically experience as a church community. Although this Lent our congregation is offering in-person formation and worship opportunities, it was important that we also continue cultivating the practice of observing liturgical seasons in the home. We also want to provide connection opportunities for anyone still uncomfortable or unable to join us in-person. So, for the second time, we are offering a “Lent at Home” kit for households in our community.
The Lent at Home kits are designed for intergenerational use and households of all shapes and sizes can participate. We will send kits to singles, couples, and families with children and youth. The kits include supplies needed to complete a wide variety of activities. Some are devotions, some are creative projects, and some are prayer practices. There are activities that can be done weekly, daily, or a single time throughout the season. They are designed to be flexible and accessible. This year we are also including a packet of spiritual practices for Eastertide, continuing the celebration through Pentecost!
Many of our households will pick up their kits during an all-ages “Lent at Home kickoff” event on the first Sunday in Lent, where folks can make a Story Garden and participate in other activities. Other households will opt to either pick up their kits at other times or have them delivered.
A complete list of activities and supplies included with this kit are:
- A devotional book (we are using Illustrated Ministry’s God is Still With Us family devotion book this year)
- A guidebook and supplies for an at-home “Story Garden” that includes objects connected to Lent, Holy Week, and Easter stories and practices (This activity comes from the children’s Lent Digital Activity Kits available through Sparkhouse Digital.)
- A set of prayer cards based on Lent and Easter prayers from Traci Smith’s new book Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection.
- A set of jelly beans for use with the alternative jelly bean prayer found in Traci Smith’s new book Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection.
- Supplies for decorating a household Paschal candle: a white pillar candle enclosed in a jar, some scrapbook paper, and buttons.
- A “Lenten Kindness Challenge” calendar (Adapted for our context from an activity in the children and youth Lent Digital Activity Kits available through Sparkhouse Digital.)
- A copy of Fifty Days of Spiritual Practice from Easter to Pentecost (available for purchase on author Traci Smith’s Etsy shop.)
Our hope is that the materials in these kits will provide households of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to learn and grow together during the season of Lent. Equipping families to observe Lent together is one way we can foster faith formation conversations year-round.