by Johannah Myers, Regional Coordinator for North & South Carolina
Every year for Messy Easter, we see a surge in attendance. I don’t know whether it’s the season, parents looking for more Easter egg hunts, or what. All I know is that when we plan for Messy Easter, we plan for a crowd!
There are so many activities and possibilities for Messy Easter but after a few Messy Easters, it can feel as if we’ve done every activity out there. Where most Messy Church stories or themes are different each month, we’ve done Messy Easter before and will do it again every year. So how can we keep Messy Easter feeling fresh, even as we get set to tell this oh-so-essential story? Here are three ideas from our experience with Messy Easter over the past five years.
- Pick a theme. I know, I know, Easter is the theme. But one year Messy Easter could, for example, focus on Easter eggs (an Egg-stravaganza!). Pick your activities and crafts with that in mind. Dye Easter eggs, do an egg roll. In your celebration time, use Resurrection eggs to tell the Easter story. If you do an Easter egg hunt as part of your Messy Easter like we do, you can hide Resurrection eggs as a part of the hunt. Number the outside of the egg and as you tell the Easter story, call on the child who found that number egg to open it for everyone to see.
- Pick a story within the story. The passion story is your key story for Messy Easter, but what other characters can you use to tell that story? Last year for our Messy Easter, we used the legend of the donkey’s cross. We told the Easter story through the eyes of Esther, our donkey. We made donkey masks and had donkey snacks. Every family took home an illustrated set of story cards telling about Esther, the donkey, and how she encountered Jesus on Palm Sunday, in the Upper Room, at the cross, and at the empty tomb.
- Consider your layout. Do you usually scatter your activities around the room? For Easter, try arranging your activities in a new way. A simplified Stations of the Cross could work well here with different activities for each station of the cross. There are plenty of online resources for kid-friendly stations that would be helpful.
This year, our Messy Church team is planning for a Candyland theme. We’ll use activities that involve jelly beans and chocolate bunnies – things kids usually see in the stores this time of year. We’ll also set our activities up using the game Candyland as a model.
The focus at Messy Easter will always be the Easter story. But every year our team tries to consider how we can tell this story in a way that people hear it again for the first time.
Blessings, from Johannah Myers and Messy Church @ Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, SC.