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Easter 2015

Good Friday tomorrow. Today’s Maundy Thursday then, when Jesus and his disciples met for a Passover meal and it turned out to be the Last Supper: that’s the event we still recall each time we celebrate the Eucharist, or Mass, or Communion. At Holy Trinity we remember it each year in a special way, with a meal together (we’re good at those) that includes a sort of re-enactment.Long tables, all set up for the meal, form three sides of a square. People drift into the hall –mainly in good time (they always do, for a meal) -and choose a seat. About 50 of us, perhaps. We chat, as usual, just as the disciples would have done. Perhaps more quietly than usual –a bit more subdued, not knowing quite what to expect: must have been much the same for the Twelve. A hymn and some Bible readings remind us of the scene and the Passover meal begins –recalling the occasion when the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt obeyed God’s instructions on preparing a hasty escape. We share out the roasted lamb, and the “herbs” and “bitter herbs” (some of us are never quite sure which is which) and pour ourselves a glass of wine. The Eucharistic Prayer leads us to the blessing of unleavened bread (matzos), which we each pass on to our neighbour, in silence. Then we enjoy our meal –lamb, green salad, rice salad, a glass of wine: no need for silence now –this is a real meal, shared by friends, just as the Last Supper was. Then the Communion wine is consecrated and the chalice passed round. The meal completed, we each light a small candle. Lights are switched off, and in the half-dark we very quietly sing the words of blessing and farewell –Shalom Chavarim, Shalom, Shalom .. (“peace until we meet again”) –then move out, with our candles, through the darkness of the carpark into the darkened church, remembering how Christ and his disciples made their way that night to the Garden of Gethsemane –Christ to face the agonies that lay ahead, his followers apprehensive but still not under-standing. The altars are stripped bare, and a Bible reading reminds us of the events that followed -betrayal, arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion.Some of us stay on a bit, separately, for prayer or meditation -perhaps for a few minutes, some much longer. When we leave, it’s in silence. We don’t talk a lot on the way home. Not much to say, really. Plenty to think about though. Good Friday tomorrowGood Friday ..... 10.30am Children arrive for their activities in the hall whilst a crowd gathers outside the church (in the rain!) ready to walk ...Pat Gregory recalls working with the children on several Easter related activities..Baked playdough Easter-egg shapes were painted and decorated. An absorbing activity, which hadn’t been done before and was very popular.Lots of materials were provided for the children to design and plant their own Easter gardens. Using a foil tray as a base, compost and small plants, including pansies, were added, the difficult part being to fasten two lollipop sticks together to form a cross to stand on top of the hills. Everyone managed it (some with a little help) and they looked really amazing when fininshed —each one individual and different. The ‘tombs’ was created from egg-boxes or card-board and a finishing touch was achieved using grav-el to make a path.Using felt tips and sequins to decorate, beautiful Easter cards were created and hot-cross bun mixture gave all who wanted the chance to knead a bun and mark the top with a cross. The buns were left to rise and later baked in time to eat after the ’Frugal’ lunch. They were delicious! No children’s Easter activities would be complete without making chocolate nests with cornflakes and miniature eggs—messy but essential!Finally everyone went into church to create the large Easter garden by the lectern. This was built on a large builder’s tray with the same components as the small individual gardens. The tomb, the main feature, was built from large stones, with a stone at the front to ‘roll’ away on Easter morning revealing the empty space and the ‘grave clothes’ (tissue paper). The Easter story was then read to the children -by which time the hall had been cleared and reset for the frugal lunch. There was a lot to fit into one and a half hours and those who provided activities worked hard to make the morning very successful.

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