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Holding Family Meetings To Keep A Sense of Routine and Connection in the Midst of Covid19

A couple of years back, we came across a book called “The Secret of Happy Families,” which I am not necessary recommending but there were some handy ideas in the book. One of them was the idea of a weekly family meeting, and a basic layout for what that meeting could look like. So we borrowed that idea and did it consistently at first and do it off and on now, but enough that the kids know the general routine. For the basic family meeting, there’s an opportunity to talk about a) what went well last week, b) what could have gone better, and c) what are our intentions for the coming week. Everyone gets to talk for themselves, with feedback from the group. When we do this, we often do it on Sunday evenings during dinner.

Seeing as how we’re all experimenting with new routines in life because of the Coronavirus, we adapted this concept yet again.

In lieu of going to meeting for worship, because ours was cancelled as many were, we had our own family meeting this morning (we have 3 kids – 8, 10, and 12 yrs). This is something we do from time to time & in the coming weeks we will be more consistent with this practice.

Not only does having a family meeting for worship help keep some sense of routine around worship, but gives us an opportunity to discuss how we’re all feeling, share worries and gratitudes, pray for those people and thing we are concerned, and share information about how things are shifting.

Here is the format we used for a family meeting this morning:

  • Silence (about 5 mins)
    — Ask if anyone has anything they wanted to share out of the silence with the rest of us
  • Each person shares any worries or concerns
  • Each person shares their gratitudes
  • Someone offers a prayer for these concerns and gratitudes shared
  • Business items (opportunity for sharing key info out to the family) – During this part of our meeting we discussed family expectations for the coming weeks (for Heaven’s sake – don’t use all the toilet paper!), how things will likely shift with school and work and what that means for all of us, new things we’d like to try in the changes, discuss the morning checklist (a staple we use to help the kids be more self-guided), and re-read the tech guidelines we crafted last fall.
  • Closed with a blessing from J. Philip Newall

The blessings of heaven, 
The blessings of earth,
The blessings of sea and of sky
On those we love this day
On every human family
[And on all of God’s creation]
The gifts of heaven,
The gifts of earth,
The gifts of sea and of sky.

J Philip Newall

This little model of family meeting will be something we keep coming back to over the coming weeks and months to try and help keep some semblance of routine and organization in the family. I’d love to hear what others are doing as well.

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Blog Entries The Pastorate

Resource: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

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Every Christmas Eve we have a very nice, contemplative candlelight service. This gathering goes for about 45-60 minutes, includes scripture reading, poetry, prayers and music. Oh and plenty of candles. The second one also has three readers. You are free to download the resources here and use them however you wish.

The first service was conducted by three readers and three musicians. I enjoyed the quiet evening of singing together and considering the power and Spirit of Christ’s birth. I think others enjoyed it as well.

First Service: Here is the outline.

Second Service: Here is that outline.

In writing the service I pulled together a number of resources:

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Church in Mission Convergent Friends Featured

Stations of the Lord’s Prayer (A Worship Resource)

This past weekend at our convergent Quaker retreat we had both programmed (planned) and unprogrammed (silent) worship. For the programmed worship on Saturday morning I planned an interactive worship time based around the Lord’s Prayer (a topic I am deeply interested in). In this post I’ve included a video and pictures of the various stations, here and at the bottom you can download all the instructions and list of needed materials. I have not included the descriptions and instructions for each station, you’ll have to read the documentation for that. In each station one person read the petition from that portion of the Lord’s Prayer, there are queries to help reflect on the prayer, an activity and then time for silence.

Here is where I explained the basic idea:

Be sure to give yourself some time and get some help if you can because It took a little time to set things up. There is a list of materials in the downloadable packet below.

Station One: Sanctify

Our Father in the heavens, may your name be sanctified (Matthew 6:9).

 

Query: Consider the ways we can pray this prayer in three forms: inward, upward and outward.

Activity: Light candles and say opening prayer

Station Two: Witness

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Query: “How can we be a part of the kingdom’s coming on Earth?”

Activity: A Body Prayer “To Become Useful In God’s Plan” Face the four directions

Station Three: Eat

Give us today the bread we need (Matthew 6:11).

Query: “Do we seek to share our resources, belonging and food with those who need it?  Am I available to share daily bread with others? Does my table reflect how the kingdom of God looks?”

Activity: Slice a piece of bread and give it to another person

Station Four: Forgive

Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12).

Query:”What do I owe you God?  What debts have I incurred against you and others?”

Activity: Write out a debt you owe God or one that another person owes you on a piece of paper and tear them up together at the end.

Station Five: Cleanse

Do not bring us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).

Query: When do I let temptation overcome me? How can I live a cleansed life?
Activity: Read a confession and wash another person’s hands.

Take five minutes per station and we had five small groups that rotated after the five minutes were up (we rang a bell). At the end, after everyone had gone through all the stations, we returned together for a time of silent worship. The feedback was the most people enjoyed the experience of going through these and appreciated the interactivity in the stations.

Download the packet of descriptions, instructions and materials needed.


The video and most of the photos were provided by Martin Kelley.