Entering the "whisper hut," little Eleanor Shaw tells Anita Carbin-Wilson what she wants to pray about. The teacher then leads Eleanor in turning her thoughts into a prayer. The "whisper hut" is one of six stations set up in the sanctuary at First English Lutheran Church, Butler, Pa., for the Mukula Mass it holds several times a year.
Mukula means "sprouts" in Finnish — and is an affectionate nickname for children. It's also the name of the service developed by Finnish Lutherans to grow the faith of elementary school-aged youth. The service adds a "prayer walk" to the traditional liturgy during which children and their parents visit huts, each staffed with a teacher. In addition to the whisper hut, there are places to talk about current events, learn about church seasons, receive a blessing, turn prayer thoughts into artwork and pray for others.
"The kids look forward to the Mukula Mass," says Joan Stewart-Giese, the church's children and family ministry coordinator who introduced the service. "They know this is their time."
Copies of the Mukula Mass and videos are available from The Rose, Box 8137, St. Paul, MN, 55108; phone: (651) 645-1944.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers