One of my favorite intergenerational Christian Formation tools is the echo pantomime. Echo pantomimes tell a story with words and movement. They are a playful, full-bodied way to learn a Bible story and to build community. Here’s how the form works:
1.Choose a leader–an adult or a child who can read.
2. The leader reads a line of the script and performs the indicated action at the same time.
3. The group echoes the leader’s words and gestures.
4. The leader says the next line with the action; the group copies the words and actions again.
5. The back and forth between leader and group continues until the story is complete.
Echo pantomimes can be used with a large group of people or even with a small family. Adults seem to enjoy the movement and playfulness as much as children. The Zechariah story below can be repeated over and over during Advent. With lots of repetition a group can eventually do it together without a leader, almost as a dance.
Below is the Luke 1 Echo Pantomime of Zechariah’s encounter with the angel Gabriel. It was first published in The Season of the Nativity: Confessions and Practices of an Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Extremist (2014) You can download a .pdf or .jpg version of this Zechariah Voice and Body piece.