I have meant to write something about practicing acts of ministry during worship for a while now. At CiB we like to often use our time together in worship services to bless others… usually we choose the children and families at The Children’s Inn located at the National Institutes for Health. We incorporate two things: 1) our use of prayer stations, and 2) their practice of “thoughtful treasures.”
We always have prayer stations set up during our communion (eucharist) celebration and our folks move around through them after receiving the bread and the cup. These stations are meant to facilitate prayer and action, often helping make the things we are talking about a little more tangible and present.
The Inn has a program called “Thoughtful Treasures” wherein each child gets to open a personal mailbox each morning and starts that day with a special treat before all the routine and often painful medical appointments and regimens of the day get going. Many folks and organizations in our area help supply those treasures.
So this last week we prayerfully put notes of encouragement on candy canes, about 90 in all, at a prayer station. Next week we’ll be assembling jingle bell necklaces while we pray for the kids and their families. The candy canes were simply decorated with a mailing label wrapping around the stem which read, “We’re praying for your holiday!” and included our church family’s logo. Often our efforts are “small,” but intentional and uplifting for the recipient.
Other ministry activities we’ve practiced have included letters to encourage orphans in Sudan and letters and cards to our sick members or friends. We’ve also written notes of appreciation to one another, or maybe a coworker or a family member. Ideas for what we do flow from the pastoral staff as well as others in the congregation. The practice fits with our desire to begin enacting the grace of God in tangible ways at all times. And I’ll tell you from experience… this is not a put-off for visitors! Typically, they join in and love it!
I’m sharing all this because I’d love to know what you folks are doing out there… let’s share ideas and inspirations. I’m only positive of three things: 1) we’re not the first folks to do this, 2) we’re not the only folks doing this, and 3) we won’t be the last folks to do this. Share some ideas and practices you are loving to be a part of!