Summer typically means relaxed schedules and more time for creative faith formation. Groups may choose to meet on Sunday mornings or off-site during the week. Leadership can be provided by clergy, lay leaders, or families. Here are some resources we’ve found that provide unique opportunities for the summer months:
Small-Group Video Series
Form a small group to explore videos from The Work of the People. Choose one of the curricula series to go deeper into themes such as liturgy and worship, vocation, spiritual birth and renewal, or practices of an abundant life. Films are typically less than ten minutes each, leaving plenty of time for discussion and prayer. If meeting in the evenings, why not include a meal as well?
Summer Book Club
Hold a summer book group. Take turns meeting at different members’ homes. Unsure what to read? Consider one of our On-Line Book Club reads:
- Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown
- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, Douglas Carlton Abrams with His Holiness The Dalai Lama and The Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance
- Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus, Michael Curry
Other books we recommend:
- Take this Bread: A Radical Conversion, Sarah Miles
- Short Stories by Jesus, Amy-Jill Levine. Leader and participant guide included, as well as a six-session DVD.
Summer is also a time to change up the traditional book club format. Consider a mother-daughter or father-son book club.
- The anonymously written Go Ask Alice explores the theme of drug addiction and can lead to deep, meaningful discussions between parents and teens that may otherwise find no time or place. Please note that this book contains difficult themes.
Meet God on the Mountain
The months ahead are a perfect time to experience worship outside the walls of your church, and in a state that loves to hike, why not take worship to the trails? There is an increasing enthusiasm around the idea of combining hiking and worship and we live in a perfect state to try it out. Check out what Holy Hikes is doing in the California Bay area. Several of our own parishes have already started holding regular hikes that incorporate prayer stations, reflections, and whole liturgies.
- The Wilderness Worshipers ministry at St. Lukes, Fort Collins, holds monthly hikes during the summer months and has created A Hiking Eucharist that has hikers pause along the way for the Gospel reading, Prayers of the People, and The Peace, and culminates in sharing communion at the hike’s destination.
- Camino Divina at Church of Our Transfiguration, Evergreen, practices “walking the Divine Way” every Thursday morning at Alderfer Ranch. Camino Divina emphasizes walking, praying and meditation. Walkers are invited to be present in the moment, grow in awareness and stillness, and celebrate the divine beauty of the earth.
Intergenerational Faith Formation
This could take the form of an intergenerational VBS that meets one evening a week for five weeks, or a Godly Play series where all are invited to participate on as Sunday Morning. For VBS curricula ratings, the best resource is VTS’ Vacation Bible School Reviews for 2018.
Parish families may want to use summer as a time to come together monthly or bi-monthly to deepen fellowship and engage in fun activities that add a touch of faith learning and deepening of family ties. A Homemade Year provides a number of summertime ideas, or you may want to check out our Faith-Full Families Summer Pinterest board.
Social Justice Here and Now
Delve into themes of advocacy and social justice with one of Sojourners resources, maybe God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, Christianity and Feminism, or Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith. Some resources include study guides and videos. Sojourners says of its organization: “…We are Biblical based Christians who believe in social justice. We are evangelicals, Catholics, Pentecostals and Protestants; progressives and conservatives; blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asians; women and men; young and old…Together we seek to discover the intersection of faith, politics, and culture.”
Have a summer idea of your own? We’d love to hear about it and include it here. Reach out to us at Faith@EpiscopalColorado.org.