Diocese of Portsmouth

    Villagers enjoy innovative Easter activities

    8 April 2021

    VILLAGERS in Denmead enjoyed their church’s innovative Easter activities, which included outdoor scenery telling the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

    Worshippers at All Saints Church also created an Easter trail, asked children to decorate rocks and colour Easter eggs, and gave out bags of Easter goodies, helping families to appreciate the Easter story. And a team of knitters also created a knitted daffodil arch that was hung over the church porch.

    Their thinking was that Easter 2020 had been quiet and low-key, as churchgoers marked Easter from their homes in isolation. So the team at All Saints were determined to mark Holy Week and Easter in fresh, new, and creative ways.

    Because All Saints is situated right in the heart of our village, people are constantly walking past. So they decided to use their grounds and gardens. They built on an initiative from Christmas 2020, when they created a five-foot Nativity stable telling the Christmas story.

    Worshippers created similar, tableau-like scenes that would unfold the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem, and the events of the Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. They created props and characters to go with each scene and swapped the scenes around as they progressed through Holy Week.

    As each scene went up, they also recorded a short video for their Facebook page, so that people could join in from home too. Young and old also visited the church garden to explore the Easter story for themselves.

    Worshippers also decided to build upon another new initiative, entitled Jesus, Light Up Denmead. During the past year, many children’s groups haven’t happened in person, so instead the church has created Jesus, Light Up Denmead – a mix of events, activities and crafts that families can engage with from their homes, and as a household unit around the village.

    At Easter, they asked children to decorate Easter rocks at home, and then hide them around the village for others to find and then re-hide. They also set up the Egg-citing Easter Colouring Competition, inviting children (and adults) to decorate drawings of eggs, and post them. They were then laminated and displayed all along the front fence of the church’s garden.

    The church received more than 200 entries its fence is awash with colour and creativity. With so many entries, they announced ten winners each of whom received an Easter gift. Many locals commented how joyous it was to see the designs, and many children visited to see their artwork displayed.

    Worshippers also created an Easter Trail for families around the village – a special route where children could look for clues to find out more about the first Easter. All who completed it received an Easter egg as a little prize.

    And they invited families to pre-register for a ‘Bag of Easter Joy’. On Good Friday, they gave out bags to just over 90 families, each crammed full of arts, crafts, stories, and chocolate treats exploring Easter, and asking what is Easter all about? These Easter Bags were well received, with one family commenting, “this bag has given us great joy and bought us so much fun. Thank you for sharing with us the good news of Easter – Jesus.” To see more about these family activities, visit here.

    The arch of knitted daffodils over the church porch
    Some of the entries in the Egg-citing Easter Colouring Competition on the church fence
    Some of the Easter rocks decorated by children and hidden around the village

    Building on another success of 2020, the church also launched the ‘Delightful Daffodil Knit’. Villagers knitted more than 450 daffodils, which were strung together to create a stunning display above their porch and around the entry to church.

    The vicar, the Rev Emma Racklyeft, said: “These daffodils symbolise the hope and new life that is ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For many, knitting daffodils has been a way that they could contribute to our beautiful garden and convey a message of hope to our community.

    “And to top it all off, once it became clear we could open again for public worship, and in accordance with the easing restrictions, we decided that each week as we finish our 10am service, we will gather in our garden and sing a song or hymn.

    “This has been a great opportunity to fill the centre of our village with song, bringing hope and the truth of Easter – that God loves each of us, and that through Christ's death and resurrection we have hope, light, and joy! And as we finish our service, we pray for God's favour and blessing to be on us all here in Denmead.

    “So, in all these different ways we have celebrated Easter rather differently this year...who knows what we might do next year?”

    All Saints, Denmead

    Hambledon Road, Denmead, PO7 6NN

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