Disappointed with Sainsbury’s

Disappointed with Sainsbury’s

I was saddened to hear that the Wave 105 Easter Egg Appeal will not take place this year.  In an email from Wave 105 we were told that:

at the 11 hour Sainsbury’s have told us that they cannot be a drop off point, leaving us no time to get another partner ready in time to start the appeal . So for this year we cannot provide you with Easter eggs.

The decision from Sainsbury’s is a head office decision not a local one, all the stores in our region are as disappointed as we are but they obviously have to be guided by their Head Office.

I am so sorry, we will however still be doing Mission Christmas at the end of the year and next year we will have found another partner for the egg appeal so you will be able to have eggs next year.

It is a disappointing decision from Sainsbury’s and one that will have a big impact on our local community.  Last year we were able to give 100 children Easter Eggs who otherwise would have received nothing.

Easter resources from Engage Worship

Easter resources from Engage Worship

Sara and Sam Hargreaves have highlighted some great Easter resources on Area 52 is filling up with great resources for you:

Easter Spoken Word

I loved Dai’s spoken word about Easter:

Easter is a funny time of year.  You come back from the Christmas holidays, you hit the ground running then all of a sudden the clocks go forward and you’re in April.

Now Christmas is known as the celebration of Christ … and though sometimes it may not be celebrated, the clue is sort of in the name.  But what about Easter? Some chocoholic Bunny and a sugar rush on Easter weekend…there’s gotta be more to the story.

When it boils down to it – Easter is foundational to the Christian faith. Who would have thought that 3 days would have been so key to the fate of humanity? And it’s all cos that tomb was empty.

This is my spoken-truth piece on the Easter story.  It is my hope that this video is used to help us re-visit the message of Easter.

[youtube id=”kBaAN26_E4M” width=”580″ height=”337″]

Easter Egg Surprise assembly

Fish Fingers

Yesterday I did an Easter assembly at our local Infant school focussed on different foods:


To explain the ‘surprise’ of the Easter story and encourage openness to being surprised.

Preparation and Materials

  • You will need some hot cross buns, a large Easter egg, an empty packet of fish fingers and four eggs – two fresh and two hard-boiled (don’t forget to mark them so you can tell which is which!).
  • Bible reading: John 21:1–14 – I used a Bob Hartman story version. You could ask a child to read this.
  • A large bowl to break the fresh eggs into.
  • A damp cloth to clean up any mess!
  • Apron (optional depending on how messy you’re prepared to get – don’t wear your best clothes!).


Explain that this morning you have with you some different types of Easter food. Get the children to consider quietly what food they think you have brought.


Bring out the hot cross buns. Explain that buns like these have been eaten for hundreds of years, and were particularly popular during holidays like Christmas and Easter. The cross marked on them is a reminder of Jesus’ death on a cross, so eventually they became associated with Good Friday.


Bring out the big Easter egg. Talk about how much we all enjoy eating chocolate at Easter. Explain that in the past, eggs were considered a luxury food, so during Lent people used to give up eating them. (Remind the children, particularly if you have spoken to them about this during Lent, that on Shrove Tuesday eggs would have been used up in the pancakes.) Eggs also remind us of new life, and spring. Some people also say that the inside of a chocolate egg reminds us of Jesus’ empty tomb.


Ask if anyone expects to receive (or has already received) any eggs this Easter? Ask if anyone knows why eggs have come to be associated with Easter? Then say you want to use some eggs to demonstrate something about the story of Easter. Put on your apron if you have one.


Pick up the fresh eggs and make a show of ‘accidentally’ breaking them in your hand (be prepared for the egg to go everywhere, which will add to the effect). Hopefully the children will laugh, at which point say, ‘If you think that’s funny, you do better – catch!’ and throw one of the hard-boiled eggs to one of the older children. For added fun you can throw another before the children have time to register that they are hard-boiled. (The usual health and safety warnings apply here: throw low and gently and preferably to a good catcher if you know one.)


Explain that you threw the eggs to demonstrate something about the Easter story. The Easter story is all about the unexpected, about a surprise.


Read or tell the story of how the women, Jesus’ friends, went to the tomb and found it open and empty. They were shocked and surprised to find the body not there.


Say that we have all been expecting Easter (we may have been looking at eggs in the shops). But the first Christians were not expecting Easter at all. They didn’t expect to see Jesus again. Ask the children to imagine that they were friends of Jesus.


Jesus was their friend, they loved him. Then they saw him get into trouble with the Roman authorities, and they saw him die. They were so sad that they cried and cried. They thought he had left them for ever. After a couple of days they decided to go to visit his grave. But the tomb was empty! What a huge, amazing, exciting surprise! More surprising and exciting than 100 Easter eggs, or 100 eggs thrown about in an assembly!


The last Easter food you have brought is … fish fingers! Bring out the empty fish finger packet. A strange choice – do we normally eat fish fingers on Easter Day?


No, but we do hear a lot about fish in the stories about Jesus, and one famous story about fish tells of something that happened after Jesus came back to life.

Read, or paraphrase, John 21.1–14. Jesus appeared to his disciples and cooked them a breakfast of fish on a barbecue. This was the third time he appeared to his friends after he had died. They were so excited that he was alive again.


End by talking about how at Easter, Jesus died and came back to life. Christians believe that Jesus is with us now as our friend, even though we can’t see him.


Explain that the Easter story shows us how when things seem at their worst, when everything has gone wrong, we can often find signs of new life and new hope – if we are open to being surprised.

Time for reflection

Close your eyes and think of a time when you were unhappy…

Remember what got you through that time…

If there is anything troubling you at the moment try to think of a way forward…

Think of a place where you may find new life and hope…

And think how you could bring new life and hope to someone else who is in need…


Loving God, give us open hearts and minds to be surprised by new life and new hope. Help us to bring Easter joy to others, especially to those who are sad or in need. Amen.

Egg on your head – Easter assembly

Egg on head

Here’s my favourite assembly that I do each year – feel free to use and adapt:


PREPARATION: One egg, towel, plastic sheeting/black sacks, a large chocolate Easter egg. You also need a willing teacher who is prepared to look like they will have an egg cracked on their head – the more senior or precious they are about their hair the better!


This assembly works best when done by two people, where one of you is prepared to be the volunteer who does actually have an egg cracked on their head. It can be done as a one-person assembly but you will need another teacher or trusted pupil to crack the egg on your head at the end.



If possible as the pupils are coming into assembly give a class worth of pupils a piece of paper with the question “What is love?” on it, and pens or pencils to scribble down their thoughts.


Welcome the students and explain that this assembly will be exploring the idea of love at Easter. Ask: ‘I wonder if anyone can tell me what love is?’ Field the various responses and if you have given out the question to a class prior to the assembly share some of their answers.


Say, sometimes love is giving up something so that you can help someone else. For example, you may give up watching a TV programme so you can help your mum with the housework or dinner, to show her you love her. Or, you give some of your time and effort to raise money for people less fortunate than yourself because you care for them, for example with Comic Relief Red Nose Day.


Now, this kind of giving we call sacrifice which means ‘giving up something valuable for something else that’s really important.’



Now to explain a bit more about sacrifice we’ve got a little quiz with a big Easter egg as a prize for the winner and a nasty forfeit for the loser. The winner gets a lovely chocolate egg, while the loser will get an egg on their head – they will get egged!


Don’t use pupils for this, but instead prepare a teacher and another adult volunteer to be your partners in crime.


Ask them three questions each, easy ones to your volunteer – they of course get the questions right. The teacher is given the impossibly difficult questions – they of course get the answers wrong!



For the volunteer

  1. What are Easter eggs made of?                                        Chocolate
  2. What colour is chocolate?                                                 Brown
  3. What day of the week is Easter Sunday on?                              Sunday


For teacher

  1. When was the first mass produced Easter egg made?            1873
  2. What is the volunteer’s favourite kind of chocolate?
  3. What was the date of Easter Sunday in the 2000?                    23rd April


(Ask questions alternatively)


As the questioning progresses it is likely that the students will get quite noisy as they see that one of their teachers will get egged. It is important that you ensure that they are listening.


At the end, say you are going to egg the teacher as they clearly got all their questions wrong. Make a big thing of giving the large Easter egg to your volunteer and then standing the teacher on the plastic sheeting/black sacks and getting ready to egg them. Encourage the assembly to count down from three for you to break the egg on the teacher’s head.


As you go to bring the egg down on their head your volunteer moves the teacher out of the way and steps in to take the egging in the teacher’s place. You carry on oblivious and break the egg on your volunteer’s head.


Once this has happened thank the teacher, and give them the large Easter egg, and allow your volunteer to go and get cleaned up.



Explain that sacrifice is a really important part of love. And (name the egged person) suffered a little there, they gave up their nice hairdo so your teacher didn’t have to take the punishment for getting all those questions wrong.


Now it’s easy to say you love someone, it’s easy to give someone a hug, and hugging is a part of showing someone you love him or her. But are we prepared to suffer to help others?


We’re coming up to Easter, a time when Christians remember the death of Jesus and celebrate His resurrection.


Just as, name your egged volunteer, stepped in to take the punishment for the wrong answers from your teacher, we believe that Jesus stepped in and was crucified to take the punishment for all the wrong we do, so that if we chose to follow Him we can be forgiven and one day have eternal life with him.


There is a verse in the Bible that says: For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost but have eternal life. (John 3:16)


Christians believe that this was the greatest sacrifice anyone has ever made, to lay down his life for the whole world.


You will hopefully never be in the place of having to give up your life for someone, but maybe you might think about some sacrifices you could make, to show someone you care or love them.


And when eating your chocolate Easter eggs, perhaps you might remember the Christian message behind Easter, that of Jesus giving up His life for us all.

Easter Assembly – Hidden Meanings

Easter - Hidden Message of Easter

My favourite Easter assembly is the egg on your head assembly, but having done this at our local special educational needs secondary school I needed a different Easter assembly.  Lacking time to plan I turned to the fantastic schoolwork.co.uk website where I came across a brilliant assembly on Hidden Meanings.

They provide a script and Keynote and PowerPoint presentations:

You will need:

  • “Hidden Message “PowerPoint/Keynote presentation (see above)
  • Small eggs as prizes
  • A Barbie novelty easter egg (or something equally as exciting!)
  • The Real Easter Egg (see note at bottom of next page)


Welcome the students to their assembly, introduce yourself and say that you’d like to begin the assembly today by talking about easter eggs. Explain that you don’t mean the kind of chocolate easter eggs that you eat. Easter eggs are hidden messages in computer games, art, tv shows and even web sites. Say that before introducing them to some of those hidden messages, you will first have some fun with chocolate easter eggs too.

Easter egg games:

You can show some pictures of classic easter eggs on screen and get the assembly to cheer for their favourite (award the head of year with whichever one they pick!). Then say if they want to win an Easter egg too, they have a chance to do that by seeing whether they can guess the favourite Easter egg of these stars:

  • Justin Bieber: An American easter candy called Peeps (marshmallows in the shape of easter chicks)
  • Adele: Green & Blacks Organic Easter Egg
  • Usher: Cadbury’s Crunchie
  • The Wanted: Cadbury’s Creme Egg

(NB: You will need to control this game well, keep up the pace and award any winners with a small egg)

Hidden message ‘easter eggs’:

Remind students that you were about to show them some examples of easter eggs in movies, art and even computer games. Go on to show what you mean by introducing three examples of easter eggs (pictures on the PowerPoint/Keynote accompany these):

  1. UP (2009): In the part near the end, where Carl and Russel are pointing out red and blue cars, it starts to zoom out. There, in the back parking lot to the left, is the Pizza Planet truck. The Pizza Planet truck has been in every Disney/Pixar film since Toy Story.
  2. Michelangelo’s art: On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome, the center of the ceiling is “The Creation of Adam” also know as the “ET” part of the painting. The figure on the right who represents God has a red robe flowing around him and angels surrounding him. This is actually a cross section view of a human brain. The robe forms the outer limit and the feet of God and the angels form the spinal cord.
  3. Call of Duty Modern Warware: After You’ve finished the last level (Game over/The end) the credits come up. What you have to do is to listen through all the credits until the first song ends, then Sgt. Grigg’s brand new rap Song about the COD4 series (you can look it up on YouTube).


[Hold up a large classic chocolate egg]: This is the kind of egg most people imagine when we talk about Easter. Choose an egg that’s as silly and frivolous as possible, a Barbie branded egg for example, and ask students to think about whether there could be a hidden message in this egg as well. The answer is ‘no’! This is just a cheesy silly egg, although at least it’s made of chocolate.

Hold up the ‘Real Easter Egg’ * and explain this is an egg that does claim to have a hidden meaning. It’s been made by a company that wanted to make an egg that explained the meaning of Easter for millions of Christians around world. For them, Easter symbolises the belief that Easter brings new hope through the death and resurrection of Jesus. To Christians, it’s one of the most sacred and important moments of the year, especially given their belief that Jesus was seen alive by hundreds of people on Easter Sunday after being crucified on Good Friday. To these Christians, the chocolate egg has often been seen to represent the boulder or stone that was rolled away from the burial tomb where Jesus’ body had been put.

Allow the students reflect on the question on the final slide of the presentation “What might the hidden message of Easter mean for you this year?” and use a moment of silence while they reflect.

Why did Jesus die on a cross – 7-11 year old Sunday School session

Jesus - wordle

This morning our 7-11 year olds spent the morning looking at ‘Why did Jesus die on a cross?’:


Equipment required: A blindfold.
Designate one young person as the ‘caller’. Stand this person in the middle of the room and blindfold them.Number each of the corners of the room.

One of the leaders starts the game off. Each of the young people have to choose one of the corners of the room to run to. When everyone is waiting in the corner of their choice the caller shouts out a number (1 – 4). Everybody in that corner is out and should sit down.

Keep playing until there is only one player left in.

Once there are only eight players left you can add the rule that there can not be more than two people in each corner. With four players left you can only have one player in each corner.

If you have time you can select a new ‘caller’ and play again. You could see which caller manages to get everyone out with the fewest number of numbers shouted out.

Quiz: HOW MUCH IS. . .?

Equipment required: An Argos catalogue.
Call out various products from the catalogue and get the group to guess how much they cost. Give four possible price options and four corners where the group members must stand if they think it’s a certain amount, e.g. How much is a Barbie doll?Go to corner A if you think it’s £9.99. Go to corner B if you think it’s £16.98. Go to corner C if you think it’s £13.50. Go to corner D if you think it £17.99

We used this powerpoint to run it as a quiz: How much is it worth?

At the end of the game ask how much a human is worth.

Explain that Jesus died for us, we are so important.


Equipment required: Some or all of the following items (optional): 7 bars of soap/fat, iron to make 1 nail, 7 cups of sugar, phosphorus to make 2200 matches, 6 buckets of water, sulphur to rid a dog of flees, 5 tablespoons magnesium/salt.Ask the group “How much money are you worth?” Get them to put a price on a human. £10,000,000?  Tell them that actually what’s actually in their body adds up to about £7

Read or show which actual items, what their bodies are made up of.

  • 7 bars of soap/fat
  • iron to make 1 nail
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • phosphorus to make 2200 matches
  • 6 buckets of water
  • sulphur to rid a dog of flees
  • magnesium/salt- 5 tablespoons

Explain that no one would sell you for just £7, you’re far more important than that. Jesus died to save all people. God loves us all so much and thinks we’re priceless!


Equipment required: 2 white t-shirts.
Start the session by reading the crucifixion story (see ‘CF04 drama’ for the text). Talk a bit about the pain that Jesus must have gone through.Tell the group that people often say ‘Jesus died for our sins’. What does that actually mean? Discuss any ideas.

Ask for a volunteer. Put a white t-shirt on him/her. Ask the group what sins they all do (lie, gossip, swear, mock, bully, boast, be rude, be unkind).  As the group say these things, write them in black marker pen into the t-shirt in big writing.  Ask “what would God say if he looked at all those wrong things we do?” He wouldn’t be able to let us into heaven because we’re not perfect as God is.

Now explain that Jesus died for all of those wrong things that we do. So, if we love Jesus, when God looks at us, He sees a brand new white t-shirt that Jesus has given to us. We’re now perfect and allowed into heaven because Jesus took our sins and made us clean. As you’re talking, give the volunteer a new white t-shirt.

Show the group this verse from the Bible (maybe write is on a big sheet of paper).

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—

   our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,

   that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,

   that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Isaiah 53:5 (The message)

Talk about what it means and tell the group that anyone can have that white t-shirt, it’s a free gift.


Equipment required: Paper and pens.
Ask the group if they have to write thank you letters after Christmas and birthdays. Why do they write them? (to thank someone for giving them a gift).Encourage the group to thank Jesus for dying for them and for the gift of eternal life in heaven.  You may prefer to write this as a group.

You could also use this time to talk about any further issues or misconceptions that may have arisen.


Archbishop Justin Welby’s Easter sermon

Archbishop Justin Welby - Easter Sermon

Archbishop Justin’s Easter sermon: The one who was dead is now alive. Where there was weeping there is now joy’:

Going through the barrier with a colleague to board my train in a busy station in London, suddenly a loud alarm sounded. A voice came over the public address system advising, no instructing, every person in the station to leave the building immediately. The majority of passers-by stopped, stood still and looked at each other. Visitors to London were already making their way to the exits, Londoners were hurrying their way to their destinations. The message only came once. I looked at the person I was with, we shrugged our shoulders, and went through the barrier to catch our train.

We have, collectively, quite a bit of disbelief and fatigue when we are told that we really must respond, or do something, or change our behaviour or direction.

Mary Magdalene was exhausted by grief. With Jesus everything had died. Who knows why she thought she was going to the garden in which the tomb they had borrowed for him was situated, but who knows why we do lots of things when we are worn out by life? Mary’s emotion represents the emotion of the whole world in the presence of the overwhelming cruelty and irreparable nature of death.

With Mary there are so many that weep. In Syria mothers cry for their children and husbands. In the Ukraine neighbours cry because the future is precarious and dangerous. In Rwanda tears are still shed each day as the horror of genocide is remembered. In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt. Asylum seekers weep with loneliness and missing far away families. Mary continues to weep across the world.

This is the world we live in, a world which each of us has had a hand in creating. A world of crosses. We can comfort one another and treat the dying with dignity. We can make gardens and graves, we can move stones and wipe away tears. But we can do nothing to defeat death.

But listen, hear the announcement. . . The one who was dead, is now alive! The one whose body had been a corpse, lying motionless in the grave, inert, lifeless, lying flat on the stone ledge of the borrowed tomb – he now stands before Mary, speaking her name. This day he speaks everybody’s name to engage them with the news that he is alive.

When Mary hears her name spoken, we are told, she turns towards him. A moment before and she is in the deepest despair, a second after, her life has changed. For death has more than met its match. It has been defeated. Everything changes.

We cannot expel God, nor the life of God, from his world. In fact this new life insists that there is nowhere God is absent, powerless or irrelevant. There is no situation in the universe in the face of which God is at a loss. The one that was dead is now alive. Where there was weeping there is now joy.

Someone wrote recently ‘Joy might be a greater scandal than evil, suffering or death’. [David Ford]. This is what I have been moved by in Christian communities around the world who face the most devastating of conditions. Their certainty that Jesus is alive enables them to face all horrors with joy. Not happiness, but joy. Joy can exist alongside mental illness, depression, bereavement, fear, because the joy of Christ comes from knowing that nothing and no one less than God has the last word.  I remember sitting in a room with the Bishop who had come over from Pakistan soon after the attack in September on a church in Peshawar. I asked how Christians were coping with the fear that such attacks brought, and wondered if there had been anyone in church the week following the attack. ‘Oh yes’ the bishop replied, ‘ there were three times as many people the next week’. Such action is made possible only by the resurrection. The persecuted church flourishes because of the resurrection. I think of women who I met earlier this year who have survived unspeakable sexual violence, yet who lift their arms in prayer and praise to God. I think of teenagers I met in Luton who have hope and joy, in lives that were dominated by self hatred and harm. This has only been made possible because Jesus is alive.

The announcement that Jesus is alive changes everything; not simplistically or even instantly do circumstances and situations change. But it changes us. It gives us hope where we were in despair, faith where we were lost, light where we were in darkness, joy where we were entirely in sorrow. That joy in huge life of Jesus is present in the food banks, the credit unions, the practical down to earth living that the churches are demonstrating across this country.

But Jesus hasn’t finished with Mary yet. It isn’t simply a personal thing for her. She must now become a witness. So Jesus sends her to the ‘brothers’ to tell them. Please notice, in all four gospels the first witness of the resurrection is a woman. So Mary becomes the apostle to the apostles.

Jesus comes to find us all. In all the gospels when anyone meets Jesus they are given a task. The task is to join the announcement. The meaning of our whole existence is to be witnesses to the new life that is offered by Jesus Christ. The persecuted church bears witness in its joy overcoming fear, in worship in the midst of war, of refugee camps. In an IDP camp in Goma in January, the reminder that Jesus is alive was worth more than many sentences of comfort, for he brings joy.

The new life of Jesus is given to us. We witness to it as we insist that money isn’t our ruler, that self- promotion isn’t King, that pleasure isn’t a fulfilling aim, and that the survival of the fittest simply means some die later than others. The new life of Christ has broken into our world, it cannot be contained, nor restricted, nor managed. The church exists to show by its life and work the transforming power that has been set free in the world. All that we need to do is respond in faith and receive the gift of that life.

To fail to respond is like hearing someone crying ‘fire’ and continuing to walk into the building. Or have someone whisper ‘will you marry me?’ and turn the channel to find something interesting to watch. This is an announcement that calls our attention, catches our lives, heals our brokenness, and send us out with a purpose,a hope and a joy. It is news that the world cannot ignore, that we cannot neglect, it is the news of joy immeasurable.

– See more at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5303/the-one-who-was-dead-is-now-alive.-where-there-was-weeping-there-is-now-joy-archbishop-justins-easte#sthash.xOYgE068.dpuf