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During this strange and uncertain time, many of your residents could benefit from robust spiritual programming. However, with most visitors prohibited in your community, it could feel especially challenging to bring those spiritual opportunities to those you serve.
Here is a quick roundup of ideas that may work for you and your residents.
Spiritual vs. Religious
During uncertain times, people have a natural tendency to look for something hopeful to hang on to.
Some of your residents you already know are religious, which means they will likely continue to seek out religious opportunities. Other residents may have never been interested in religious programming until now; make sure these residents feel welcome and are aware of religious programming available.
Finally, another set of residents may seek spiritual opportunities that do not involve structured religious practice. Having spiritual and religious opportunities throughout your calendar is always important. However, it could be even more important during this global pandemic.
15 Spiritual Programming Activitiy Ideas
Spiritual programming offers residents the opportunity to connect with nature, music, art, words, or themselves. Try to scatter these programs in your calendar, not necessarily labeling them as a spiritual opportunity to ensure everyone feels welcome:
- Gardening or planting (simply getting hands in the soil can be spiritual)
- Guided meditation (use an app like Headspace if you don’t feel comfortable leading it yourself)
- Search for where you can get healing crystals near you and invite a representative to give a virtual lecture to residents. You can also have crystals for them to take home.
- Walk a labyrinth
- Color a mandala
- Listen to different types of spiritual music, including Native American healing music or healing sound bath music
- Pass out gratitude journals for residents to write down three things they are thankful for each day
- Practice yoga or tai chi
- Practice deep breathing techniques
- Read poems or thoughts from inspirational writers like Hafiz or Gandhi
- Host daily moments of silence or intentional solitude
- Have a place where residents can pick up an inspirational stone
- Post encouraging words throughout your community
- Set an intention or mantra for the day with interested residents each morning (I am healthy, my family is safe, I am strong, etc.)
- Put a “worry jar” somewhere in your community where residents can write down their worries and leave them in the jar as a sign of letting them go
16 Religious Programming Activity Ideas
Chances are, your regular church services held in your community are looking a lot differently than a few months ago. However, you can still bring those religious opportunities into your community by:
- Login to virtual church services on Sunday mornings
- Host weekly devotionals for residents (don’t worry if you aren’t overly religious, most books will walk you right through it)
- Schedule video chats or phone calls with pastors or church volunteers and interested residents
- Play worship music or concerts
- Pass out daily Bible verses to interested residents
- Observe important religious holidays. If you aren’t sure how to do it, call a local church or temple to get realistic ideas
- Host daily prayer times
- Start a prayer and praise jar where residents can write down their prayer requests or praises
- Create a holy corner in your community where residents can feel comfortable praying for themselves or others
- Have a Bible verse of the week that interested residents can read, meditate on, and even memorize
- Welcome St. Joseph into your garden at your community
- Speaking of Saints, choose a Saint of the Week to learn more about. Even non-Catholics will enjoy learning about Saints and how they overcame their challenges
- Work with a local church to coordinate communion. Remember, communion doesn’t have to be all about the right wine and wafers. It’s the intention behind it. Asking your dining department to make freshly baked bread and grape juice is perfect.
- Order votive flameless candles and have them available for residents to take and light in their room
- Sing hymns alone or together, inside or in the courtyard
- Start a prayer chain, with construction paper links that residents can add to
Remember, you don’t have to be an expert to host religious or spiritual programming. You just have to have an open mind and heart so that you can give your residents what they need during the interaction.
If you aren’t sure about a certain practice or what is important to your residents, ask! Allowing your residents to talk about what they need spiritually can be quite therapeutic for them as well as educational for you.
How are you making the best out of your spiritual and religious programming without the help of your volunteers or local places of worship?