Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 1: Making Pastoral Cards for All Ages

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers and tape
  • Card stock for cards
  • Optional: Envelopes for cards
  • Arts and crafts materials to share, such as markers, colored pencils, paints/paintbrushes, tissue paper, stickers, glue sticks and scissors (including left-handed scissors)
  • Optional: Small sticky labels that read "This card was made by a multigenerational learning group at (name of congregation)."
  • Copy of Leader Resource 2, List of Ages and Life Stages

Preparation for Activity

  • Invite participants across a wide spectrum of ages to join the group for this activity.
  • Prepare sticky labels ahead of time.
  • You may wish to fold card stock into greeting cards and insert in blank envelopes.
  • If you are providing paints and paintbrushes, have water and rags on hand for clean-up. Leave time for the clean-up. Identify a place for participants to place painted cards to dry.
  • Post blank newsprint. Write on it "condolences" and "congratulations."
  • Print Leader Resource 2, List of Ages and Life Stages.
  • Make a sample card to send to a person who graduated from a school grade, is ill, has had a family member die, is celebrating a birthday or has reached another life passage.
  • Contact the minister, director of religious education, pastoral care committee, or lay leaders who might send pastoral cards to congregational members. Invite them to join this session, share ideas for pastoral cards they can use and/or agree to send the children's cards to appropriate recipients.

Description of Activity

This activity generates discussion of the personal challenges and celebrations common at different stages of life and gives the group a role in your congregation's practice of recognizing members' life passages. Ministers and others in your congregation who provide pastoral service and those who receive it will appreciate children's hand-made cards.

Ask participants to name occasions on which they have sent or received cards and write these on newsprint. You may suggest the anniversary of a special event, a birthday, a child dedication (baptism, christening, bris), coming-of-age ceremony (or confirmation, first Communion, bar/bat mitzvah), congratulations on an achievement, death of a family member or pet, graduation, marriage, move to a new home or serious illness.

Distribute card stock and arts and crafts materials at worktables. Explain that the group will now make cards to be sent out to congregational members of all ages, as the need arises. If you have a multigenerational group of participants and have made sticky labels, distribute the labels and show participants where to affix them on each card.

Engage the group in thinking about how to design cards for different purposes. Lead the group in phrasing a few different sentiments to write on the cards. Mention that any art made with loving thought is appropriate for all occasions. Indicate the spelling of "condolences" and "congratulations" on the newsprint and invite the group to suggest additional words they would like to see spelled out.

Invite participants to make at least one card for someone in an age group different from theirs. Tell them how much time they have and give a two-minute warning with directions for clean-up and where to place the finished cards. You may wish to leave extra time for volunteers to share cards they made or randomly choose a card(s) to share with the group.

Thank everyone for their participation.


If you have multi-age guests, create opportunities for participants to work with someone of a different age. Form multigenerational groups to share a worktable or to design cards on a theme (e.g., get-well cards).