Katy clutched the handmade clay cross as the medical staff wheeled her into surgery. When she came out of surgery, her parents noticed that she still had the cross firmly gripped in her hand.
Members of Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio, made Katy's cross.
"During intergenerational night, we made the crosses to be given to homebound church members during Lent," said Kathy Schmucker, director of Christian education and spiritual formation at Faith. All ages participate in the "Faith Connections" activities held every Wednesday night at the church, including a cross scavenger hunt for the children.
In 2013, the children led the Ash Wednesday service, including imposing the ashes. Men, women and children had an opportunity to draw crosses on a burlap cloth after they received the ashes. The cloth was draped on the altar. "The kids also love the indoor labyrinth that we have," Schmucker said.
More than 50 attendees visit prayer stations during Holy Week and participate in various activities such as washing each other's feet and learning about Palm Sunday and Judas' betrayal. They also make candles and pretzels.
On Holy Saturday, the church has a 5K "Run the Resurrection" through the church neighborhood. Along the route, runners, young and old, see banners with each of Jesus' "seven last words" to give them inspiration.
Schmucker looks forward to planning more creative activities for the church during the coming year. Contact her at Kschmucker@faithumchurch.org.
"It Worked for Us" is written by Christine Kumar, freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference.
Originally published in Interpreter Magazine, March–April 2014.