Ideas for Groups at Easter 

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Unlike Christmas, Easter doesn’t always seem such an obvious time to be holding a celebration at work; nonetheless, several workplace groups have used this as an opportunity to share Jesus in creative ways.

Before staring any activities for your group remember that it is important to keep your managers and HR aware of what you are doing.

Management may be able to advise you on best practice for different circumstances.  In many cases your group’s activities and the means by which you advertise them will require permission.  Make sure that you discuss what you want to do first, not after the event!

Please contact us to let us know your ideas.  We’d love to pray for you.
 

Offering Easter Eggs

Sefton eggs

For many years at Sefton Council we have set out large bowls of Easter eggs in the foyers of our main council offices here at Sefton (see picture and wording). 

They are a low key way to raise the profile of a Christian group. People are always very appreciative. It’s hard for people to complain about free Easter eggs, and they let people know there is a Christian group in the building!!

The eggs are good value (and Fair Trade) from Lidl (£5.99 for a 800g bag), or Aldi (not sure if Fair Trade!) – smaller bags of 100g for 59p each.
 

Easter Quiz

Easter egg

How about your Christian Workplace Group organises an online Easter quiz on your work’s intranet site for all staff (subject to management permission of course!).  The winner recieves The Real Easter Egg from the meaningful chocolate company?

The Real Easter Egg has a free activity pack in the box which includes the Easter story, activity poster, free iTunes download and a sticker set. The resurrection text from Mark is inside the lid.

You can find out more by visiting their web site at: www.realeasteregg.co.uk.
 

Christianity Awareness Week

Easter Christianity Awareness

The 3 Christian Workplace Groups in Ealing Borough Council held a Christianity Awareness Week.  The focus of the week is to raise awareness among Ealing council staff who are unfamiliar with the Christian faith of what the Easter season really means.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the group held lunchtime talks on aspects of the Christian faith. On Thursday and Friday the groups had a stand in the building canteen area at which members of the group explained to enquirers the meaning of Easter and of the Christian faith and offer various books and pamphlets.

John Freeman, who lead the Ealing Staff Christian Fellowship, gave a great talk on Wednesday entitled ‘Easter – Seeing the Bigger Picture’ in which he explained the foundations of the Christian faith. Starting with the facts of the death and resurrection of Jesus, he clearly explained how these events were predicted accurately in scriptures written hundreds of years earlier. He then explained the context of the Easter events in the bigger picture of the Christian world view. It was a gently argued account, made more convincing by John’s personal journey to faith out of being, in his teens, an avowed atheist.

A selection of books were available for people to take away. 

Later in the week, Catherine Taylor, Head of Legal Litigation, Ealing Council, said of the stand in the cafeteria, ‘It was absolutely brilliant, such a good atmosphere and presence…’.
 

Easter Education Stand

 Easter Education Display Stand

The Tower Hamlets Christian Prayer Group marked Easter by having a stand in the reception area of the council building, Mulberry Place, in the week leading up to Easter. The stand was situated right by the turnstiles where everyone enters the building and so was very visible!

On the stand, which was not manned continuously, were Easter eggs for people to take away and a range of free resources explaining Easter.

The pictures show some of the group members around the stand, and examples of some of the materials available for people to take away. Contact sheets were available, for people to express interest and receive information about the group. There was also a box for prayer requests, which was filled by the end of most days.
 

Easter Display in Foyer

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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’.

Changing display
sefton-Council-Easter-changingWe 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.

Unfair trial

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.

Practicalities

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!

Reflections
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 steve.matthews@transformworkuk.org
 

Share the Miracle

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Simply put, sharethemiracle believes we are all ‘designed for kindness’ and that these moments of kindness can build and ultimately transform communities. Easter is arguably the most important time in the Church calendar, remembering what many consider to be the greatest act of kindness. sharethemiracle is an easy and effective way to connect with those in your workplace 

For several Christian Work Groups, sharethemiracle has been used on the front line. Useful within your ‘whole life’, sharethemiracle has provided an opportunity for people to reach out throughout the day – on the train, by the coffee machine, at the workplace or in the pub after work. Whether you’re a trainee or a chief executive, sharethemiracle has enabled people to start a conversation through an act of kindness and extend an invitation to build their community. Some groups have used it to invite colleagues round for a coffee, just to get to know them; others have invited people to an Easter service run in the workplace.

Some groups have also used sharethemiracle to aid social action. Loneliness for example is a growing challenge for many, including the elderly. Why not invite people to join your group in reaching out to the elderly in your area and invite the elderly person to listen to a short musical performable, a story, play a game or simply enjoy a cup of tea. This type of activity has proven to be very impactful

The flexibility and simplicity of sharethemiracle and its all-inclusive nature has meant its something that everyone of all ages and abilities can engage in. Last year, groups ran it up and down the country in Great Ormond Street Hospital, through Westminster council, schools, churches, to the homeless, elderly, victims of human trafficking and more. Its been so exciting to see it grow from engaging 100 people during Easter 2013 to engaging over 15,000 people across the UK last Easter. 

Many have found sharethemiracle to be a fun, all-inclusive and effective tool to reach out, build relationships and form stronger communities at Easter and we’d love it if you’d like to join in too!
 

Easter Apologetics

open tomb

The Barclays Christian Forum organised an Easter Event entitled ‘Jesus RISES’. The RISES concept having biblical meaning of Jesus re the resurrection and also mirrors the values at Barclays.

The thought provoking talk was led by Simon Edwards, a member of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics who provided some useful insight and a reminder to many of us about the real meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how it impacts the world today and what it means to us all. This was an engaging event where we were invited to think about the different propositions in history from those who have argued that the resurrection cannot be true for various reasons. At the same time we were introduced to the arguments which go against the resurrection we were able to understand that how the arguments are flawed and therefore have no basis.

The event included a Q&A session whereby attendees were able to express their understanding and raise some interesting questions around the topic.