Exploring faith the multi sensory way
Origami doves, making and trying out mocktail recipes, playing Jenga. In the Uttoxeter Area in November we ran another of our creative faith half days. This time it was on the Beatitudes. We use activities as a basis for discussing deep questions of faith and those who come, love exploring and deepening their faith this way.
The afternoon was based on material from the Church of England Pilgrim Course: The Beatitudes. Usually each session in the main booklet is matched to an activity and the session material used to stimulate discussion. Our newest afternoon and earlier ones have been a great way for people around our multi church Area of Parishes to come together to explore their Christian faith and socialise.
After a bring-and-share lunch, our half day always starts with worship and prayer to focus our selves on God and always ends with prayer.
This time we started as one large group and used relaxation techniques to explore 'Living with Openness to God'. Then we split into smaller groups to take part in a rotation of activities - making origami doves - 'Peacemaking'; playing Jenga - 'Foundations'; making up mocktails - 'Thirsting for What is Right'; and making suncatchers - 'Living Transparently'. We ended back all together to look at 'Living as Citizens of God's Kingdom'.
We have previously also used the Pilgrim material booklet on The Creeds - we painted and sketched, used playdough, made jewellery, had a go at creative writing to explore ideas relating to God, Father, Son and Spirit. We also had a go at writing our own creeds.
Last year we used the same technique to explore the story of Jesus calming the storm on Lake Galilee. For this half day we had chocolate dipping, making cargo boxes, creative writing, marbling and collage all based around a junk model boat to represent our journey with God.
Alison Hunt one of the main organisers explained -
"This is a multi sensory approach to explore our faith. It is a fusion between a bible study group and Messy Church. Activities are adult focused and deep issues and personal experiences are discussed.
Adults enjoy trying new things, making, doing as well as listening and talking as much as children do. And there are tangible reminders of the day.
It appeals across the generations and many of our most enthusiastic advocates have been in their seventies. They enjoy the approach and are excited by the new ideas. An integral part of things, the lunch, and tea and cake are much enjoyed too!".
Timing can be difficult as the sessions are adult only at present and not suitable for children given the personal discussions.The format would be suitable though for ages 14 plus - the discussion and eating age!
If you would like more information on adapting materials and looking at a multi sensory approach to exploring faith please contact Alison Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pilgrim: A Course for the Christian Journey - materials are available from www.pilgrimcourse.org
Comments from participants - Beatitudes
'This afternoon was a really thought provoking time for me - along with enjoying getting to know friends.'
'Thanks so much for this afternoon. It was really enjoyable.
'Delighted to have a souvenir to remember it by.'
'Enjoyed having my mind stretched.'
'Creative arts and great conversations.'
Comments from participants - The Creeds
'It was most enjoyable.'
'Good for us all to get together and talk about things that mean a lot'
'Sometimes we say it without really thinking about it …'
'I met people I didn't know at all. Very good.'
'The Trinity is a swiss roll. I like that.'
'Did we agree? No! The only thing we agreed upon is that we are all different!'
'When's the next one?'