Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making Crosses as Workshop and Meditative Practice

Back in October, one of the Lutheridge leaders asked me if I'd heard of a book, Making Crosses.  I hadn't.  She thought it would make a great workshop at our Create in Me retreat, and we agreed that I'd lead it.

I fully intended to spend the intervening months making some crosses, but I didn't.  So, I decided that we'd all explore this idea together.  I wasn't sure what to expect, and in fact, I was a bit fearful, but it went well.

We spent the first half hour gathering our materials.  We had a lot to choose from.  At Lutheridge, we were surrounded by blooming plants, sticks of all sort, nature in all kinds of glory.

We had much to choose from indoors too.  The Create in Me retreat includes all sorts of Creation Stations, which have all sorts of craft and art supplies:  fabric, yarn, papers of all kinds, corks, all sorts of fun stuff.

For the next 30 minutes, we assembled the crosses.  We attempted a meditative silence.  I was impressed with the focus on the process, although I did wonder if paying attention to the process took away from a meditative and/or prayer focus.

Then we talked about the process and the crosses themselves.

We also talked about other elements we could have included:  an opening prayer, Bible verses that mention crosses, the historical use of crosses, a discussion of symbolism.

We also talked about whether or not this workshop would translate well to our home churches.  I thought that it might not because we wouldn't have all the natural materials and it would take some work to assemble all the arts and craft supplies.

But the workshop participants thought that this workshop would work really well in their home churches.  I like that it's a workshop that could appeal to all sorts of people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.  Plus, it doesn't take a lot of skill to be able to do this.

We wondered how our crosses might have been different if we weren't one week out from Easter.  Would we create different crosses during Advent?  We thought that they might.

All in all, it was just what I wanted the workshop to be:  a meaningful experience for the participants, with lots of potential for use in the future.

The publisher's website lists these possibilities for making crosses:


Cross making during a worship service based on the movement of the Holy Spirit

Spiritual Work of the Church:

- Discernment Committee: To bond the committee and help in the discernment process for candidacy for the priesthood
- "Festival of the Cross" featuring all types of hand-made crosses, including found object Creation Crosses


- Children's crosses displayed and sold, with money sent to congregation's mission work
- Neighborhood clean-up project with found objects used to make crosses
- Inter-congregation crosses made by two downtown churches
- Cross making session at local homeless shelter

Themed Explorations:

- Holy Week crosses created in group weekend before Holy Week and used in prayer/added to throughout the upcoming week
- Pentecost "Spirit Cross" created during Fellowship Hour in summer months with heavy participation by all members of the church
- Earth Day crosses in children's Sunday School class
- "Coming to the Cross as a Child" during women's retreat
- Lenten Crosses created at weekly gatherings of small groups


- During Sunday School where children and supervising parents make crosses together
- Display of crosses created by congregants encourages discussion of faith and spirituality and further introduces congregants to each other
- Group cross created during women's retreat, then placed in chapel to commemorate time with God and each other
- Silent retreat cross making

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