Rogation: A Longer Procession
Rogation Sunday is the Sunday before
Ascension Day. In this activity, the congregation processes around several
prayer stations, in the churchyard as well as the church, if the weather
John 14.15-21 - Jesus promises the Holy Spirit
children are invited to the front. The leader explains the history
and meaning of Rogation.
congregation processes around pre-marked prayer stations, which symbolise
aspects of their parish or places with which the parish has
- If you
take a photograph at every prayer station then afterwards you can make a
lovely display of all the different aspects of your parish life, acted
out by the congregation.
- An adult
to lead the teaching.
- As many
children or adults from the congregation as there are prayer stations:
try to involve as many people as possible. One person could do
more than one station if you have a smaller congregation this week, or
several people could do one station if the congregation is larger.
which symbolise different aspects of life in your parish or
community. For example, you might sit a toddler in a ride-on
lorry, wearing a child's hard hat, to symbolise the transport industry;
dress another up as a doctor to represent the surgery, and pray also for
the sick in our community; a blackboard and chalk could symbolise the
school (a book and football, or academic cloak and mortarboard would be
simple alternatives); a football and cricket bat for the sports clubs;
another ride-on car for those who commute out of the village to work; a
toy till for the retailers; pot plants for the garden centres; scissors
and a hairbrush for the hairdressers; stuffed animals and a ride-on
tractor for the farming community; one child could hand over to another a
large cheque written out to "workers in our village" for the amount "your
well-earned wages", and mention also those who work from home; three
generations of one family might stand together to symbolise family life
in your community; dressing-up clothes could represent the fire station;
and don't forget the church(es)!
- Fingerboards pointing to places with links to your
parish, with approximate distances. These can be held up by the
children, to point in the right direction. For example, you could include
the other parishes in your group; your cathedral city, and parishes in
other countries with which your Diocese has links.
sheets for each prayer station, giving the prayer and response.
For instance: "Father, we pray for . . . . Bless and strengthen your
people", to which everyone responds, "Lord, in your mercy, hear our
- A camera
if you're going to take photographs. Do remember to check that
everyone is happy to have a photograph taken for use in a display -
particularly of their children.
biggest part of the preparation for this service is thinking through the
different aspects of your parish life and how you might represent them,
including the fingerboards if you choose to use them. (If during
the course of the service you realise that you have omitted a group or
aspect then just bring it into one of the categories that you have
- Representatives at each prayer station can be chosen
as they arrive in church: handing out the prayer prompt sheets at this
stage has the advantage of giving them something concrete to hold on to
which reminds them where their part will come.
the service, lay out your prayer stations either round the churchyard or
inside the building, depending on the weather.
was traditionally a time when Christians prayed for God's blessing on
their crops, land and farming work. Often prayers over the parish
were combined with "Beating the Bounds": a medieval custom, from a time
when maps were not readily available, which involved walking the parish
boundaries to remind everyone where they were. In later times objects
marking the boundaries would be beaten, but traditionally the boys of the
parish were beaten, or bumped on the boundary stones or markers, to
imprint the boundaries firmly on their memories! This Sunday was called
"Rogation" because in the gospel for the day included the words,
"Whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give to you": in Latin
"to ask" is "rogare". Today the emphasis is often on the growing crops
and young animals.