The idea of the FaithChest® was created by Drs. Dick Hardel, David Anderson and Roland Martinson, as they were developing more resources for The Youth & Family Institute that connect home and congregation as partners in nurturing faith and passing on the faith.
Dick Hardel shared the idea of a chest to give to a family at the milestone of baptism with a faithful retired farmer with skills in wood-working, Jan Gunderson. The chest could be used for a family altar. In it would be stored all the symbols and remembrances of the baptism of the child or adult. As the child grows along the journey of faith, the family would put in the FaithChest® the resources that they used to nurture faith and pass on faith from milestone to milestone. Jan shared the idea with his wife and they both agreed this would be a wonderful ministry. Jan developed the first FaithChest® and the plans have moved from the website of the former Youth & Family Institute to this website.
The Youth & Family Institute introduced this ministry at each of the conferences they facilitated all over the USA (and other countries). Now hundreds of congregations have engaged in a FaithChest (it is one word) ministry.
Because we focus on our journey of faith or faithing, we suggest that a FaithChest® could be given to a person at any milestone of the journey of faith: beginning confirmation, graduation from high school, marriage, graduation from college, retirement, or upon one’s 70th birthday. We have piloted giving a FaithChest® to a resident in a nursing home and using a high school person trained in Peer Ministry to assist the elderly person fill the FaithChest® with a legacy of faith for the family, including video taping family faith stories and favorite Bible stories to be edited and burned on a DVD. On this website there is a formal litany for receiving a FaithChest® to use at home or in a worship service of the faith community. When the resident of the nursing home dies, again, there is a litany for the family to receive the FaithChest®. The high school Peer Minister assists the family to unfold the legacy of faith contained in the FaithChest®.
Faith Chest Variations
There are various ways to make a FaithChest. Include here are two different ways. The Original Plans by Jan Gunderson use a rabbet joint and are beautiful FaithChests. Making A FaithChest 2 uses dovetailed joints and also is very beautiful.