With school holidays this year set away from Easter so that Easter Sunday is on the last weekend of the spring holiday, the Easter Experience was held two weeks before Palm Sunday. In many ways not ideal, but on the other hand it does mean that the children who attended know the Easter story and are able to reflect upon it, before the commercial aspects have too much of an impact. As in previous years, I am indebted to Brenda Wilkinson for doing the fantastic display for the station called ‘Resurrection’. This is the station that ends the ‘Experience’. Before that the children have already learnt about Palm Sunday, The Last Supper, The Garden of Gethsemane, The Washing of the disciples’ feet and the crucifixion.
As in previous years, the response of the ten year old children was fantastic. Some of the responses to the question of ‘What are your hopes and dreams for the future?’ varied from ‘I hope that everyone would be happy,’ ‘My hope is that my mum and dad would get along with each other better’, to ‘I hope that Jesus will return soon’. These responses had a real impact on the adult helpers too.
This has been the first year when all the community schools have taken part: Manor Park, Bexton and Egerton. With all three schools arriving, a record number of 116 children were able to learn about how important the festival of Easter is to Christians. To put on the Easter Experience, I always need a lot of volunteers. Even though some of my team are ‘out of their comfort zone’, teaching the children about Easter is magical and I know that the adult helpers are always thankful that they took part as they gain pleasure from such a worthwhile event. However, without the team the Easter Experience would not happen so here and now I want to thank everyone who gave up at least one morning to work alongside me.
As well as the Easter Experience I attended a coffee afternoon at the Academy. A number of weeks ago I attended a meeting with members of the Academy’s Leadership Team to investigate whether they would like me to lead ‘Care for the family’ parenting courses and this coffee afternoon was the first opportunity for me to talk to prospective parents. I can not say what the outcome of my meeting will be but hopefully I am establishing a long term relationship between the church and the academy.
Peter Freeman, Children and Families Worker