We ran our second Interactive Easter event at Rosefield last night. Not sure how many turned up, but the place was comfortably busy. We run 5-7pm and most people arrived in the first 45 mins.
Here's a rundown on the program with some photos and downloads. I didnt get to take photos of everything, and our resident photographer was absent.
1. Easter Palms
We made Palm leaves and Palm crosses in the foyer of the church. This also serves as a 'holding area' prior to people coming in for the plenary activity. Palm leaf details. Video on making palm crosses.
2. Songs and Story
Jo, Emma, Elena and Peter both performed and taught some songs. Gillian Powis told the Palm Sunday story, first as biblical narrative, and secondly from the perspective of the two donkeys, with on-screen visuals.
3. Crafty Easter
Helen and David led some craft activities - making Easter cards and other stuff. You know, cutty pasty things.
3. Arty Easter
People were invited to paint an image (icon) of Jesus on a tile.
Cooking seems to go down really well as an activity. Really difficult to find something achievable and meaningful. In the end we went for the former and they baked cupcakes which then became 'easter baskets' with a handle and jelly beans as Easter eggs. As an activity it worked really well. But I'm hoping next time to find a food with better religious significance (last year we made pretzels).
5. Easter Meal
Aarrghh! I didnt take a photo!! Once again we blacked out the creche. This was a "last supper". Two long tables - red table cloth, white plates, red napkins, candles. At the far end a video loop of the Last Supper from the Gospel of Matthew DVD. No sound, but a playlist from "Les Choristes", "White Lunar" - Nick Cave & Warren Ellis' soundtrack stuff, and Colleen.
On each plate was a simple text inviting people to feel welcome at Jesus' table, and to imagine what it might have been like to be there. (see download below). We had 12 seats and basically let in 12 at a time for a sitting, children accompanied by an adult.
I wanted it to feel like a 'special meal', so catered it with a middle eastern flavour - grape juice and bottles of wine, fresh bread, figs, dates, dried apricots, orange slices, olives, grapes, zataar and olive oil, pumpkin seeds (just because I had some leftover from last Sunday), and beetroot dip (which I forgot to put out!)
People were invited to write on the plastic plates with a texta something of how it felt to be at Jesus' table. Regrettably, the textas proved not to be permanent! doh!
We replenished the table after each sitting, including changing cups and clearing mess. There were some logistic issues that could be solved next time. But people seemed to really enjoy the space, chatted with one another, and had to be 'moved on' after a time!
5. Easter Journey
No good photos here, either. We set up seven stations tell parts of Holy Week. I borrowed a few ideas, but it was pretty difficult to write. I definitely wanted people who knew little of the story to learn something of it, but also make it prayerful, and suited to a broad age group. We specified that people had to enter in pairs, one child and one adult, and managed the traffic there wasn't a line-up in the room. We also said that it wasnt suitable for younger children. Posters (and a couple of ideas) from Spill the Beans Easter Pack - thanks Roddy Hamilton and co. Download Easter Stations 2012 PDF includes 'Last Supper' handout and 'He Is Risen' (Bright Easter) activity below.
Station One - Jesus in the Temple
Video loop of scene from Gospel of Matthew DVD, no sound. Bowl of coins. Images of people in poverty.
Station Two - Jesus Washes Their Feet
Art image of foot-washing. Liquid soap, basin and hand towels. People washed each other's hands.
Potted plants, Chalice. Take-home prayer. (I had thought of using another video loop from the Gospel of Matthew DVD here, but didnt)
Station Four - Peter is Frightened
Painting of rooster, audio loop of rooster crowing. Small pottery pots with hand lotion. People rubbed lotion into another's palm with the words "you are forgiven".
Station Five - Jesus on the Cross
Art images of Jesus from "A Broken Beauty" and "The Christ We Share" (spectacular resource), crown of thorns made from nails, video loop of X-ray images with "Prayer" by Rufus Cappadocia (2 headphones in a Belkin hub - I have two and use them all the time), block of clay. Invitation to write in the clay with the nail and then take away the nail.
Station Six - Jesus is Buried
Art images of Jesus being taken down from the Cross (from "The Bible Through Asian Eyes" and "The Christ We Share" (see above), iPod with audio "Pie Jesu" by Anuna - Belkin hub with 2 headphones, black strips of cloth, white pens and safety pins.
Station Seven - Love One Another
Bowl of Easter eggs (you'll just have to read the script... this is an old idea of cheryl's).
This whole space seemed to work really well and several people said it was a highlight. The idea of having adult and child in pairs was good. The two people staffing the stations said that it was a real privilege to see how people inhabited the space (my word, not theirs).
6. Once Upon an Easter
A story-telling corner with some children's books and child-friendly Bibles. Plus my copy of Ars Sacra on a table. Unfortunately this space ended up being a thoroughfare, which could have been easily avoided, and needed some ambience, which could also have been easily done.
This idea of making sand trays to tell the story of Easter came from "Seasons of the Spirit". When I first heard it I thought it sounded a bit lame, but Yvonne did a fabulous job with it and both kids and adults were very engaged. I'll provide more details shortly.
8. Bright Easter
See "He Is Risen" in the Stations download for details. Video loop by jonny baker (I think this came from Proost) of tissue paper balloons at night with the track "Happiness" by Alex & Jonsi from the album "Riceboy Sleeps". A light box (courtesy of Geoff Boyce), translucent paper and the invitation to write/draw messages of hope. Here's my favourite 'message of hope'.
We used my daughter Grace's inflatable art as a space that people could get inside and write or draw something about Easter joy on the plastic. (Entry via the left corner by pulling apart the two bars.) The younger children loved the space. The only negative was that the write/draw exercise was a bit too much like the previous actvity. Grace's idea of making 'stained glass' with coloured shapes (eg. coloured adhesive "contact") would have worked much better.
We had BBQ fish fingers and bread on the tennis courts and gave people the story of Jesus appearing to the discipels on the beach, along with a take-home blessing.
Yes, we do the whole Easter story - on the basis that many people go away for Easter...
So that was it. A great team of helpers. Next time we need 2 people as dedicated greeters and 2 as dedicated chatters at the BBQ. The program handout provided details of Alive@5, so we'll see who might turn up next month.