Thursday, April 14, 2011

Interactive Stations of the Cross for Children

Interactive Stations of the Cross for Children

Sources:
• Stations of the Cross for Children, Julianne M. Will, One Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2005.
• The Way of the Cross found in The Book of Occasional Services, Church Publishing (pages 57-73 in 2004 edition).
• Liturgy for the Whole Church, Susan K. Bock, Church Publishing, 2008, pages 93-5.

Notes:
• The sources above were the starting point. I then customized what I did based on several factors. The Stations we walked were outdoors on a sidewalk. I also gauged each activity by the “mood” of the children. Some of the Stations were longer than others. On some of the stations, everyone participated, on others I took only a few volunteers.
• I tried to keep it as simple as possible – I had stuff already at each Station if it needed an item. When we left each Station, we left it all there and I cleaned up later. Everything I used was the stuff I found easily already on campus.
• Talk about each scene and ask wondering questions from each point of view
• Once the cross was built, the children took turns carrying it over one shoulder to the appropriate Stations (up to the Twelfth Station). We left the Cross there afterwards, but a member of the Altar Guild found it there and draped it with a beautiful simple ribbon and used it for the Vigil service in the Narthex. This unexpected use of the cross was such a blessing to the children. I cannot even tell you how thrilled they were to have their cross decorated – to know that their work had been included.
• Time wise, we took about an hour to complete the Stations. I finished at Station 14, and left the Resurrection to Easter. Since I did this on Good Friday, I was OK with leaving the story untold and reminding the children that the next night (Vigil) would complete the story.
• We sang something – do not remember what – as we moved to the nest Stations – probably something Taize’ - something with a simple refrain
• I had about 8 children and one mom with me as we as walked the Stations.

Before We Began:
• Drinks of water and potty stops for all of us.
• There is a great introduction in the Stations of the Cross for Children. I read that and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together before going to the First Station.
• Remind all that this is a solemn time together.
• Began singing as we process

First Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene – discuss Pilate washing his hands to show that he did not agree with what was happening, but that he let it happen anyway.
• All wash hands – we do not like what happened, but we are all responsible.
• Prepared at Station: large bowl of water, towels
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Second Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Make a cross that will be carried/dragged by various children to the next Stations
• Prepared at Station: rough lightweight wood (old fence pieces), one nail per child, hammer
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Third Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Talk about how to bow and kneel. Kneeling can hurt our knees. Falling down might skin our knees and hurt. Talk about how it feels when people laugh at us.
• Prepared at Station: One band-aid per child to remember “skinned knees”
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Fourth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Talk about who loves us: parents, teachers, coaches, Jesus
• Prepared at Station: nothing here
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Fifth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Talk about the cross being carried along – how heavy would an adult sized on be
• Prepared at Station: nothing here
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Sixth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Have each child wipe the face of another – very gently – as Veronica wiped Christ’s face – remembering that the face would be cut and bruised. Discuss how refreshing or soothing that could be.
• Prepared at Station: Very soft cloth (cloth diaper or unadorned tea towel) lightly dampened
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Seventh Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Could bring in shepherd references – usually we think of Christ as the Shepherd – here we get Christ as Lamb; Passover language of the slaughtered lamb as appropriate for the developmental language of the children
• Prepared at Station: nothing here
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Eighth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Have the children dip parsley springs in heavily salted water to taste the tears (reminiscent of a Passover dinner)
• Prepared at Station: Parsley sprigs and a small bowl of very salty water
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Ninth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Talk about how we sometimes all feel very alone – maybe like God is not there. Jesus knew that this would not be the end of His story, yet even He might have felt unloved. Remind the children about God’s presence always – even when we feel very alone and afraid.
• Prepared at Station: nothing here
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Tenth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Roll die to see who gets the highest number, the lowest number, etc. These topics are very heavy and the children might want to rest in simplicity of the game for a minute.
• Prepared at Station: a die
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Eleventh Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene
• Read The Three Trees if you feel as though they still have the attention for it
• Prepared at Station: book – The Three Trees
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Sing

Twelfth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene – instruct the children that it is traditional to kneel in silence for a bit at this Station
• Have each child who volunteers dip a sprig of parsley in vinegar and taste it
• Prepared at Station: Sprigs of parsley and a small bowl of vinegar
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children
• Leave the cross
• Sing

Thirteenth Station:
• This Station does not work for the pattern used at the others
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene – maybe talk about how we can feel mad at God sometimes and that’s OK
• Show a picture of the Pieta by Michelangelo
• Prepared at Station: Picture of the Pieta
• Pray after: “Dear Jesus, Thank you for giving us the hope of resurrection, even after someone dies. We know that You care about our loved ones who have died and that we will see them again one day – just as we will see You in Heaven someday. Amen.”
• Sing

Fourteenth Station:
• Begin with “We adore you, O Christ…”
• Read the first paragraph of this Station of The Way of the Cross.
• Talk about the scene – discuss burial practices then and now as developmentally appropriate
• Wrap a volunteer lovingly in a very large piece of linen/cheesecloth/toilet paper
• Prepared at Station: Very large piece of linen/cheesecloth/toilet paper
• Read “Dear Jesus” prayer from Stations of the Cross for Children – use the first paragraph from Station 13, and then follow with Station 14
• Sing

Conclusion:
• Reflect on the whole experience
• Remind the children that the story continues but why we conclude here, for now
• Remind children of Easter Vigil service

3 comments:

revkjarla said...

wow. this is so great!

Terri said...

This is wonderful. I wrote my own Stations for kids several years ago and have used them every year. But we did not have "interactive" stations, I used the stations at the church, which were in the Nave at one church, and in the courtyard at another - so the kids saw them every Sunday....the kids and their parents really appreciated it..I like what you have done.

Betsy said...

Great job! Our rector brought something similar when she came a year ago; I'm going to put the two side by side to see how if you have parts we might want to weave in. If you'd like a copy of ours (we do have interactive bits at every station, so might give you ideas for those), e-mail me at mobetsy [at] hotmail [dot] com. This is one of the things I love about the internet...the way creativity can so easily be multiplied by seeing what others are doing!