Sunday, May 18, 2014


Pentecost Post-it mural created by 2010 Confirmation Class at Riverton Congregational Church.
On June 8 we will celebrate Pentecost, a holy day that marks the beginning of the Christian Church and celebrates the work of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have to admit I have a soft spot for "minor" Christian holidays. By "minor" I don't mean unimportant, but uncommercialized. And I also don't think of Pentecost as a minor holiday at all. That's why I like to pull out as many stops as I can when observing Pentecost in church. This post will offer up some of the ways I've observed Pentecost, along with tips for DIYers who might want to try the things I've done.
I can't claim credit for the project depicted at the top of this post, the Post-It mural. I copied the idea from another church (Center Church on the Green in New Haven Connecticut), showed photos to my Confirmation class, handed them about $30 worth of Post-It notes and then gave them free reign to design and create their own version of a Post-It mural for Pentecost. I think they did a great job.

Another favorite Pentecost idea of mine is Prayer flags. I came up with the idea and a church member at First Church of Christ Congregational UCC in New Britain ran with it, buying and sewing the flags. The flags were available for inscribing with prayers (using Sharpie permanent ink pens) for a few weeks before the holiday, and then they were strung up outside of the church entrance for Pentecost.  Fortunately it was a breezy day!

Another way to observe Pentecost (which is conveniently relatively easy) is to create a Pentecost-themed altar display using candles and "hot" colors (red, orange, yellow and hot pink).
This altar display also featured suncatchers hung by fishing wire, which are somewhat easier to see in the second photo.

To create the suncatchers I used meltable plastic bits and some beads, but any method of creating suncatchers would work as well.

I also like to extend the festivities into the fellowship time, by including Pentecost- themed refreshments. One year I created a cupcake tower featuring red and pink roses (it was rose season, so the flowers and mint leaves came from my garden.)
I created the cupcake tower by gluing together cupcake rounds with red plastic cups in the middle, but I have since learned how to create reuseable cupcakes stands using recycled glass and industrial velcro.
For Pentecost you could even use red glass.
A simpler Pentecost treat involves using strawberries to decorate cupcakes or cakes.
 If you don't feel like cooking, you can even use a Sarah Lee Poundcake.

And, last but not least, you can encourage everyone to come to church wearing red:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Twenty-third Psalm Pin

23rd Psalm Pin
I've been creating beaded pins that symbolize popular stories and verses from scripture for some time now, but this is the first time I've gotten around to providing the instructions.

Twenty-Third Psalm Pin
The Lord is my SHEPHERD, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green PASTURES,                                                                                He leads me beside quiet WATERS, He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of RIGHTEOUSNESS for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of DEATH,
I will fear no EVIL, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a
TABLE before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with OIL;
My CUP overflows.
Surely GOODNESS and MERCY  will follow me

all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the
LORD forever.
  • Large safety pins in silver or gold
  • Large glass seed beads (big enough to slip over safety pin) in assorted colors (You can use my color scheme, or create your own. Use beads to represent important words/ideas and use an equal number of beads on each side of the pendant.) The colors I used are gray, blue, green, black, brown, red, yellow, rose, gold and silver.
  • small cross pendants
  • Jump rings to attach pendants to safety pin
The order of the beads I used is

Don't stress over finding the exact colors I used. Put your own spin on the idea. BE CREATIVE and HAVE FUN with it! You could even use a brown bead for the staff and put a sheep in the middle!

The process for creating the pin is fairly easy--especially if you find one  these jewelry pins (I found them at JoAnn Fabrics Etc. for $1.49/18 pieces). I had the beads on hand but all the supplies are generally available at large craft stores such as Michaels or JoAnn.

Materials needed:

I loaded my beads in reverse order so that the pin opens on the right side. You begin by opening the safety pin wide to receive the beads.
It is possible to use a regular large safety pin, 

but it requires you to bend the round circle on the end straight and then bend it back again after you finish loading the beads, which is a little bit hard on your hands.  (It can be done, and I have done it myself many, many times.)

Then you load the beads on in order, with the cross pendant serving as the bead in the verse Your rod and Your † staff (cross), they comfort me.

gray, green, blue, silver, black, black, CROSS, brown, yellow, red, gold, rose, gold. 
I actually placed the beads on the pin in reverse order, so the first pin I add goes closest to the fastener end:
gold, rose, gold, red, yellow, brown, CROSS, black, black, silver, blue, green, gray. I used the transparent colors for this pin (except for the gold and silver beads), but the opaque beads look good as well.

 This is the actual completed pin, which opens on the right. When worn, the beads are read from right to left.

I create little flyers with the color key and pin the completed safety pins onto the flyers. These are great to use for Children's time. After you explain the pins to the kids (only the ones old enough to handle pins and tiny beads of course!) it is ideal to have enough pins to hand out to everyone present, as adults really like the pins. I was a little afraid they would be seen as "girly" but I have had grown men pin these onto their motorcycle jackets and suit jackets and wear them everywhere. It is a way to wear your faith on your sleeve.

Please drop me a line/send a picture if you create any pins of your own. (I have also created pins for the story of Easter with a butterfly pendant to symbolize the resurrection, but I don't have any photos of those right now. If I do it again I promise to post the photos.)