Professor Jennifer Awes-Freeman of United Theological Seminary is doing this with the United community – it could be a great community builder and outreach tool for any congregation!
Invite your members and neighbors to an evening of storytelling a la The Moth Radio Hour. Awes-Freeman chose the theme of “Spirits” – “whether stories of spirits you’ve lifted, broken, conveyed, imbibed, conjured, or encountered”. Set a time limit (Awes-Freeman set it at five minutes) to share a story that is true and relates to the theme. Help yourselves in planning by encouraging RSVPs, but make it a free night available to all who show up – especially those who are not telling a story. Draw names out of a hat to determine the order of presentation.
You can direct people to The Moth’s Storytelling Tips and Tricks to boost confidence and aid preparations. Set your night (“Spirits” is great for Hallowe’en) and share as a community event – with your congregation or your broader community – be a place of connection for all!
Turn the whole thing into your All Saints Sunday worship by inviting stories of loved ones. Story Corps or Grandparent Journal are places to start. This version becomes intergenerational and highly relational as young people can be invited to interview and develop the stories about their grandparents, parents, mentors and/or elders from the congregation or community. Sermon for All Saints Sunday: check.