Easter Egg Assembly

I wasn’t sure what to do for a school Easter assembly but big thanks to Anne and other Clergy Mummies who suggested this idea. I have seen various scripts and this is my version of theirs, feel free to re-use!

Resources needed:

10 plastic refillable eggs – have seen them in Poundland but I got mine from Hobbycraft, 20 for £3.

Crate or basket

props to go in the eggs. I used:small flag, leaf, small piece of bread and toy cup or goblet, money, thorny plant, small cross and nails, sign saying ‘INRI’, 

Fill and number the eggs and either use a script or I put a slip in each one with the relevant bit of the story. You can either read them yourself or pick children to read them out during the assembly.

 

 

  1. Jesus has been travelling around telling people about his Father and his Kingdom – the kingdom of Heaven, and now he is going to the city of Jerusalem. There is a special festival called Passover and Jesus and his disciples were going to the city to celebrate it. He rode into the city on a donkey and people treated him like a king and waved big palm leaves (a bit like we might wave flags if the queen came!).

prop: small flag or leaf

 

  1. To celebrate the Passover, people would have a special meal together, a bit like we might do on Christmas Day or maybe on Easter Sunday. Jesus had a special meal with his friends and during that meal they had some bread and some wine, sometimes in church we have bread and wine to remember that meal.

prop:  piece of bread or toy bread, toy cup or goblet

 

  1. Not everyone liked Jesus, there were some people who worked in the temple (which was a bit like the church of the day) who thought Jesus was a trouble maker, some of them thought he wanted to be a new king, and they wanted to get rid of him. These men paid one of Jesus’ friends, Judas, to do a terrible thing – he told them where Jesus was so they could arrest him.

prop: small coins

 

  1. When they arrested him, they made fun of Jesus. They made him dress like a king, but not in a nice crown, instead they made him wear a crown made of thorns, like you get on a Blackberry bush, and they treated him badly, whipped him and beat him too.

prop: piece of a thorny plant

 

  1. The temple leaders didn’t just want to put Jesus in prison, they wanted him killed, so he would be out of the way forever. They wanted him crucified, which means he was nailed to a cross. They made him carry his own cross to the top of the hill and nailed him to it.

prop: small cross and nails

 

  1. Even when he was dying they carried on making fun of him. They put a sign on his cross which said INRI – which means ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’. They didn’t understand he was talking about the King of heaven, not of their world.

prop: paper sign with INRI on it

  1. Jesus died soon after. And this is what we remember on Good Friday – the Friday before Easter Sunday. Some of his friends took his body down from the cross and took it to a cave, which was going to be his tomb or grave. When someone died back then they would wrap the body in special spices and fabric and leave it in the tomb.

prop: spices and small piece of fabric

 

  1. Then a huge stone or boulder was put in the entrance to the cave to stop anyone going in and some soldiers came and stood outside.

prop: pebble

 

9. Later, on Sunday morning, one of Jesus friends, Mary, went to the tomb to remember him. But when she got there the stone had been rolled away and there was no one in the cave, Jesus had gone. Mary was upset and wondered who had taken him, but then Jesus appeared, he was alive and he spoke to her! He told her to go and tell all his friends that he was alive.

prop: none! empty egg = empty tomb

 

  1. And that is what many of us as Christians still do, we tell people that Jesus is alive!

When we celebrate Easter on Good Friday we remember the day that Jesus died. He was an innocent man, he had done nothing wrong, but he took an awful punishment on that day, representing all of us, and all of the bad things we have ever done and he did that because he loves every single one of us so much.

And on the third day, Sunday, that we celebrate on Easter Sunday, he rose from the dead, he won a great victory, so that each of us could have the choice to live in God’s kingdom too, away from all the bad things of this world. If we want to, we can choose to believe in Jesus, to try to follow his teaching and to love him as he loves us.

prop: small heart

 

 

Vocation & Discernment in the CofE

A week or so ago I was interviewed by the Church Times about vocations in the Church of England, and to be more specific the discernment process. The lovely people at CT have made the piece available outside their paywall, so if you are interested in what it might be like exploring a call to ordination, do give it a read, here.

And while I’m here, another short plug, if you are looking at the discernment process, I wrote a free guide to it all here on the blog. You can either read it online or download it to enjoy at your own leisure ;) 

Mutual flourishing? not likely…

A few years ago when it was passed that women could become Bishops in the Church of England, I cried. Cried from the emotion of knowing that one more step had been taken to allow the ministry of women in the church thrive. It felt hugely personal. Tonight I feel like crying again, but this time at the injustice of a talented man feeling the need to step down from his appointed role. Whilst I was one that was hoping for and speaking out in favour of women bishops, it was not with the intention of causing similar pain as has been measured to many female clergy, to those with differing theological views as us. 

If you don’t know what I’m on about, this afternoon the Bishop of Sheffield elect, Philip North, has withdrawn his nomination. This following weeks of speculation and accusation that due to his theological views on the ordination of women, he would not be able to do the job well and fairly. This makes me sad and cross because I know from first hand experience that is perfectly possible to do just that. Whilst I’ve not met +Philip, and neither I am in his diocese, I do happen to be in the position of serving under a Bishop who will not ordain women as Priests.

Here in the Diocese of Chichester our diocesan Bishop, Martin Warner, does not ordain women as Priests and yet I can honestly say that I have never felt unsupported by him. In fact the complete opposite. Since he took up the role here (in 2012) he has done his utmost to make women in this diocese feel supported and encouraged. He appointed a Dean of Women’s Ministry – a new post – and has rearranged his senior leadership team to include more women, including a female Archdeacon, Dean of SSM, Diocesan Sectreary, and a Director of Apostolic Life – who amongst other things oversees all us Curates.

I have met +Martin on several occasions, both individually and in a group setting, and always found him to be supportive, encouraging and generally enthusiastic about my ministry and that of other female clergy. I am not the only one who speaks highly of him locally, in fact I haven’t heard a single female member of clergy here say anything negative about him and have heard through others that he stamps down hard on misogyny and sexism. And despite his theological views on women’s ordination I have never once heard him speak openly about this – I’m not saying he doesn’t but he is clearly careful and considerate about where if at all.

So, it is more than possible to take a considered theological viewpoint and yet act in a way that both allows for and encourages other views. In fact I feel sure that many of us clergy have to do that on a regular basis, and on a range of theological matters. I know some have found this hard to beileve and have questioned +Philip’s ability to do so, which frankly seems profoundly unfair considering he has been serving as a Bishop for some time (admittedly not a diocesan) and has the support of many female clergy in his diocese.

The Archbishop of York has also released a statement which points out that the agreement made when women were allowed to become Bishops, made a commitment to all clergy, and that those who ‘on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests’ will both be able to continue in the Church of England, but more than that there was a commitment to enable ‘mutual flourishing’.

Much has been made of this phrase ‘Mutual Flourishing’ in recent weeks what does it mean, what does it look like? And the accusations thrown at +Philip have been along the lines that he cannot possibly support women in ministry when he won’t ordain them as Priests. How can he enable them to flourish with his viewpoint? Apart from the fact that those accusations completely prejudge his ability to do so, I know that it is in theory possible because I am in that very situation and Chichester is an example of where exactly that is happening. 

There are plenty of male clergy who hold the same views as +Philip and sadly do in a far more aggressive way. I’ve been lucky enough to be sheltered from the worst of that but have still been ignored, or spoken to rudely or put down, or had people turn their back on me, simply because I am an ordained woman. That is unacceptable behaviour, rudeness is never necessary, and shows a distinct lack of love. + Martin, +Philip and others have shown that there is a way to hold a deep theological view and yet work towards the support and encouragement of all, with grace.

I, as an ordained woman want to publically say that I am appalled at the way +Philip has been treated and sad that he has felt the need to step aside, which can only be due to the recent and public objections – how is this in any way enabling mutual flourishing? I understand that some of my fellow clergy, both male and female, will welcome the news of his withdrawing and of course take an opposing view to me, but in my opinion, all that this decision allows is simply the flourishing of those who are radically in favour of women’s ordination. We preach a message of tolerance, and talk of the beauty of the breadth of the Church of England, but it seems that we only mean that when it suits our own views and standpoints.

My prayers tonight are with +Philip, for God’s wisdom and guidance to continue to lead him and that he too may be able to flourish in his future ministry.