Rogation: A Short Procession
Rogation Sunday is the Sunday before Ascension Day. This teaching
activity could be used in place of the traditional Rogation Procession.
children are invited to the front. The leader explains the history
and meaning of Rogation.
- With the
assistance of a parish map, or pre-agreed focal points in the N, S, E and
W of the parish, members of the congregation identify where they live in
the parish, with any visitors in a fifth group. One member of each
group volunteers to stand in the N, S, E, W or centre of the church.
- Each of
five (groups of) children is given a symbol (e.g. seeds to symbolise
crops). The children process around the five representatives, and
at each person a prayer is said for that which is symbolised (see below).
Each person joins the processing children as they leave his/her
- With the
children and representatives standing together in the centre of church, a
hymn is sung.
congregation remains standing for the prayers, which the five
- An adult
to lead the teaching.
adults to act as representatives of those who live in the N, S, E and W
of the parish and visiting worshippers, and to lead prayers.
(groups of) children to carry symbolic objects.
- A parish
map, if available, or note of four focal points in the parish.
Obviously these will be determined by local circumstances: you might have
more than one village in your parish, or the shape of your parish might
not easily lend itself to division into four quarters. The aim is not to
be too prescriptive about this, but simply to help each member of the
congregation to feel included in one of the identified groups, and
represented by one of the prayer leaders.
objects symbolising the subjects of your prayers. These could
include seeds (to symbolise crops), a pot of soil (to symbolise the
land), flowers (to symbolise gardens), toy or model animals such as lambs
or calves (to symbolise the young animals), and so on. Again your choice
will be determined by your parish: an urban parish might include parks,
factories, roads or houses in the prayers; a rural parish might include
specific animals or crops, water to represent rivers, and so on.
printed slips with the prayers for each leader.
prayer leaders could be chosen within the service, as described, or you
might prefer to prime some potential prayer leaders in advance, depending
on your knowledge of where members of your congregation live.
helpful to choose a worship leader with a good working knowledge of the
- The five
(groups of) children don't need to be able to read. They only need
to be capable of being prompted to say "I/We bring _______ " at the right
time (see below).
- As you
hand out the symbolic objects to the children, explain what they
they set off, explain that they'll only need to say "I/We bring [whatever
it is]" when prompted. Ask the congregation to respond each time
with "Lord, we ask you to bless it."
doesn't matter in what order the children process around the N, S, E and
W representatives but they should arrive at the centre of the church
last. It might be helpful for the leader to walk with them.
- As they
reach each person, indicate to one child (or group) that it is their turn
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.
identifying compass points in the church, remember that the altar will
probably be in the East.
matter which representative (N, S, E or W) takes the first four prayers,
but the fifth is intended for the visitors' representative to
1. God has
given every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, every tree
that has fruit with seed in it, and everything that lives and moves as food
for us. Let us now give him thanks and praise.
Jesus has promised that God will give us whatever we ask in His name. He
has promised that His Holy Spirit will be with us for ever. Let us now pray
God, You have promised to hear us when we pray in faith.
This Rogation we thank you for our lives in ______________
Please bless our land and help us to be good stewards of your creation.
Jesus Christ, We thank you for all the different jobs that you give us to
This Rogation we offer our lives and work to you.
Please bless our work and help us to do it all in your service.
Spirit, We thank you for guiding us in everything that we do.
This Rogation we ask you to bless ______________
We pray that all who live in our parish(es) will feel the power of your
love in their lives. Amen.
God, We thank you for the lives and work that you give us in ______________
[insert as many of the visitors' home places as you know]
We ask you to bless our land, and help us to be good stewards of it.
We offer our lives and work to you, Lord Jesus, and ask you to bless us in
all that we do.
We pray that all who live in ______________ will feel the power of your
Holy Spirit in their lives. Amen.