Easter display at Sefton Council
Raising the profile of the Christian faith
“I think you should do something to celebrate one of your major festivals – like Christmas or Easter”. This was the advice of our Personnel Manager last July at one of our occasional meetings to discuss the activities of the Council Christian group.
Traditionally we have set out bowls of Easter eggs in the foyers of the main Council buildings as a gift from the Christian Group.
We were reviewing our activities with the Personnel Manager and discussing how the group might further raise the profile of the Christian faith in the Council.
Organisations from time to time display their wares in the foyer of our main building. I indicated I did not think that staffing a table in the reception area with Christian literature would be an effective way of reaching out to others. However, the Personnel Manager clearly felt that there was potential to organise something in the foyer to raise awareness of our activities!
With this encouragement, the Group turned to thinking about how to create an attractive display which would engage our colleagues. We enlisted the support of Annie Spiers, creative director of local Christian arts company, ‘In Another Place’.
We came up with a daily changing display during Easter week. Each day had a theme with a verse of Scripture or a paraphrase of what the day signified as the Easter story unfolded. Starting with the Last Supper, the display included Jesus’ suffering and trial leading to his crucifixion and resurrection.
We were able to advertise our initiative on the intranet and on yammer (organisation version of facebook).
When the theme was Jesus’ suffering , we invited colleagues to write a prayer on a ‘leaf’ and stick it to a branch. One of the prayers read “Let the 96 rest in peace. You’ll never walk alone”. That day coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster when there was a minute’s silence in our office.
When invited to write a thought or prayer, one of my newer colleagues asked: “Are you religious?”,and told me how she always attended Derry cathedral when she returned to Ireland.
To mark Jesus’ unfair trail we displayed a world map behind a set of bars, and invited people to pause or say a prayer about an area of injustice, and switch on a (battery-operated!) tea light. This was another low key way in which people could enter into the story of Easter and relate it to an aspect of their own lives or experience.
The Personnel manager was keen to avoid unnecessary opposition to our display. He suggested we made it clear that it was promoted by the Christian Group incase anyone thought the initiative was organised by the Council.
We also sought permission from the Council’s Facilities Manager. In view of the type of people who visit our building (some angry and frustrated), she warned us not to include anything in the display which could be used as a projectile. She thought small Easter eggs would be OK!
Our Easter display illustrates the value of being a formally recognised Workplace Group and the opportunity to discuss our activities with a member of the Council’s Management Team.
It is fantastic to have a Personnel Manager who is so supportive of our activities. He had given us permission to organise an event so it felt important to act on that.
God gave us the creative help we needed. The displays were simple but eye-catching. We wanted to highlight the significance of Easter in a way which would stimulate people’s interest. When asked, people generally responded to the request to write a prayer or switch on a candle.
This was a real fillip to the faith of our group. What next? We are already planning an open meeting when our members talk about what their faith means day to day. We are also thinking about how best to arrange for people to make requests for prayer.
And advice to other groups? If God puts something on your heart, go for it. He will provide the means to make it happen!
If you would like further details of the Sefton Council Easter display, we would love to share this with you. Do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.