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Jesus in Gethsemane, Annie VallottonThis Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane Sunday School lesson and resource forum is part of's Palm Sunday to Good Friday, to Easter Morning forum of resources.

If you have any experience making your own olive oil, please post it here and "follow" this so we can ask questions.

A couple of us are researching on the net how to make OLIVE OIL with our kids for a Garden of Gethsemane cooking lesson. Lots of ideas out there.

The best approach we can see involves buying a seed press to extract the olives, or building our own makeshift press with wood and weight. But we're wondering about an EASIER/CHEAPER solution and process that would work for the average Sunday School.

Why Olive Oil?  Gethsemane means, "Place of the Oil Press"


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Updating.....collecting more intel....pondering.

The pressing and filtering of the oil has great Gethsemane story potential and theological significance. I see this as a Cooking Workshop in the Gethsemane rotation.  

Lot of work for small but tasty and very memorable result. Needs the process refined and vetted for Sunday School use.  It would be easy to just buy a $100 seed oil extraction press, but I'm on the hunt for a DIY solution.

This Jewish fellow's video has a very homemade process, that by my count, took him about 40 minutes. Unlike some, he includes water to hasten the oil separation. However, I think his pressing technique using other materials and much more weight. Wood blocks, for example. (I can imagine having kids sitting on top as the weight that presses).

Also found this Sesame Street video showing a Jewish kid making olive oil using a traditional stone press. He makes the oil for his Channukah lamp, the Festival of Lights.

"He who has clean hands and a pure heart."

Olive oil was also used as a cleansing product for skin and hair.

Kids make their own oil ("Castile") soap. Cold method. Science Workshop! (because you include lye as a cleansing agent). Original link no longer accessible, here is a replacement.

Note: Soap must cure for 4 to 6 weeks. Lots of videos with methods and recipes online.

Here is another website that walks you through their process, with photos.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

If the point is to teach kids, rather than produce usable oil, why not just show them some videos, give them raw materials with random tools, and encourage them to experiment on olives? They won't get oil, but I guarantee it will be memorable how hard it was to get oil out of olives, which could be a useful segue. There can be some dipping of bread (remembering Last Supper) into olive oil (Mount of Olives).

** I know you well enough, Neil, to guess that this is not acceptable and that the quest for a workable olive press will continue. However, for any mere mortals who read this, it might be a more workable path.



Hey Lisa!

Actually... your comments give me food for thought. (pun?)  The amount/struggle of "pressing" might make some give up, etc. What were Jesus' choices?  What are yours?  Following through on your beliefs isn't always easy, etc.  Best results don't always come by the barrel-full, either. And maybe I've been thinking of the press on too big a scale. hhhmmmmm

As for your claim of being a "mere mortal," I seriously doubt that. 

Glad I could help!

I am convinced that our most memorable WORM lessons are the ones in which the process, not just the outcomes, echo the storyline.

If I'm ever in a position to rework a scope and sequence, I'd also make sure we are covering Christian practices more intentionally in our rotations, not just focusing on story.

Alas (or Amen!) such is not my direct job description anymore.

Have fun!

Could you say more about  what you mean by "process echoing the storyline"?

re: "Christian Practices"

The old name for that is "life application," and I whole-heartedly agree. I've seen too many lessons that lacked life application (or try to cram it in during the "closing").  On the other hand, I've seen too many lessons which HURRY BY the scripture, as if the story is only the jumping off point.  I suspect both of these past practices are two reasonis why we have millions of former Sunday School kids in the US who don't remember their lessons and don't go to church.

Some time ago I wrote about teaching transformationally. An early version of that article used to be in the Rotation Articles section, but has been updated and can now be found here, titled: "Information to Transformation: Writing and teaching lessons that get to the heart of the matter".

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Hi Lisa,
Have you convinced your new church to give the Workshop Rotation Model a try? You must have built up some clout by now.

It's time to re-post at, your excellent transformation-not-information article!

-- Carol

2020 Luanne adds: Neil did update Information to Transformation: Writing and teaching lessons that get to the heart of the matter. I've updated the links above as well.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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