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I have a new responsibility at my church. I am decorating the sanctuary for Easter Sunday. I'm looking for some wonderful, creative ideas. Right now, I'm limited to flowers.
Do you decorate your sanctuary for Easter? Do you have any suggestions?
Now us, we don't really decorate.
Beloved - this is a real bug bear with me. So here goes.At a church where I was on staff this was the tradition. Hundreds of dollars were spent on potted flowers and lilies and the whole front of the church was loaded.
Many people complained of alergies.
Many complained of the money spent that could have gone for some type of outreach.
The gist of the thing was that the flowers were then to be delivered to nursing homes, hospitals and shut-ins. However this didnt always work so well. Some didn't get delivered until the middle of the following week and were not too fresh.
This is MPO. Fewer flowers are more tasteful than the display that I describe. It happened at Christmas with pointsetts too.
What about paper flowers? THey won't cause allergy problems and they would provide an opportunity for the kids in Sunday School to take part in decorating the church. They could also be given to people in hospitals or nursing homes afterwards. There are a few easy to make tissue paper flowers that even small children could make. The cost would also be far less.
Another possibility could be potted plants and flowers that will actually live, instead of cut flowers that will just die. It could even be done as part of a fundraiser at the church, either donated in memory of people or buy letting people buy the pots afterwards to keep in their homes until it's warm enough to plant them outside. I once had some Asian pot lilies that I put in to my garden in May and they grew beautifully outside and came back every year without fail.
By having flowers that can survive indoors for the month or so until they can be planted outside, you get to decorate with spring blooms AND you're more environmentally friendly about it. By "selling" the flowers after the service, you're at the very least recouping some of the cost and possibly raising money for other church activities. Any that aren't sold could be kept at the church and watered regularly until it's warm enough and then they could be planted outside the church, too.
The flowers I am using are artificial flowers that will be able to be used for a few years. The only real flowers will be ones that are sent by members of the congregation in memory of a loved one - there will probably be only one or two lilly plants from the congregation.
I'm thinking of decorating with a few eggs - do you think that is appropriate?
Please, please, please... as someone who has to lead worship and sing in a choir - if you decide to have lillies, take the stamens and the pollen out before they go into the sanctuary. I don't think I'm allergic, but I had one Easter morning service with so many around me, I couldn't breath because of their perfume. Add the pollen on to that and there was a minister who wheezed his way through Easter.
Christ's peace - r
Our church does a couple of things.
In the bulletin, all of lent, is an announcement that if you wish to put memorial plants in the display to purchase them at coffee. This is something run by the organizer or the UCW.
Members pay for either a lily or a hydragea plant. I recall them being $8 for lilies and 10 for hydrangea.
The week before a bulk wholesale order is put in and the sanctuary is decorated. Keeping the aromatic lilies away from the choir. members are then told to take their plant home and the leftovers are delivered that day by volunteers who have also signed up.
In addition over the years a few easter banners have been made which are put up.
On good friday a rugged unfinished cross covered in chicken wire is added and on easter morning there is a basket of mums in spring colours. Members select a mum and add it to the cross before they take their seats.
I think eggs have been used in window displays some years if the church school gets into eggs and dying them.
All in all it is simple, effective with the only cost to the church being the mum heads on easter morning
I once had balloons filled with helium. They were placed on a table and covered with a large piece of material. It happened to be purple.It had to be weighted down and set up well ahead of people coming for church. At Time for Children as I told the story and whipped the material off. 2 dozen balloons ( on strings) floated over the sanctuary. Funny, unreheararsed people called out Halleluja! Halleluja!
Our Easter theme this year is The Garden, so we've canvassed all the Worship Team, and a few more besides, to part with a few beloved houseplants for the season of Lent. We have quite a nice display, actually. The sanctuary's not a bad temperature, the lights are on for at least six hours a day during Lent, and there were a number of offers to monitor the plants for stress and move them to a warm sunny window during the week if they need perking up.
I'm sure there will be a few lilies moved in among them Easter day along with the brighter banners.
I like the idea of helium balloons for the children's time, crazyheart! (Although if they got tangled up in our ceiling fans, maybe not?) Maybe I'll mention it to the rev.
If you have helium balloons on strings then turn the fans off until the baloons are out of the room (either carried out or any that got away have fallen. Balloon strings and fan spindles do NOT mix
We've had butterflies.
We had a huge cross over us one Lenten season...
We had a bunch of boxes make a wall during lent, and then get transformed into the empty tomb
We've had a cross (large) at the front covered in white cloth.
hmmm...lots of different stuff
Butterflies - I never thought of that!
Okay, I have artificial flowers, eggs, butterflies, and little fuzzy chickies - which somehow will adorn the sanctuary space on Easter morning :) But I'm still open to ideas!
Get the kids dyeing eggs and have them give them to everyone on Easter Sunday? I've seen that be effective and popular.
One minister I teamed with brought in baby chicks and once a baby lamb. He had an in with a farmer. The kids loved it.
Why do we have to "decorate" the church sanctuary on Easter (or on any Sunday? Isn't the empty cross sufficient?
Guess it depends on how your faith experience is altered by art or imagery.
Can you describe the empty cross? i picture something dark, wood, empty....foreboding.....dull.....
I see it totally opposite... light, bright, reflecting a new reality.
what is the cross (actual physical item) that you would display made of? how big is it?
I think a large empty tomb with a rock rolled away would add to it!
Polished brass. About 18" high. It sits on our communion table. We have a sanctuary absolutely filled with light, the windows being 2 stories high on the east and south sides of the sanctuary.
I was thinking of that last night Tabitha . . . along with grave clothes strewn about.
For me personally the asthetics, or decoration, makes a difference. We have two crosses in our sanctuary - a large wooden one in the center at the front, and as described above, a brass one about 18" high that sits on the communion table. There have been many Easters that our sanctuary has not been decorated (and also other seasons). That has not made a difference in my faith, relationship with God, or joy in being present.
But . . . when something is decorated in beauty, when someone has put themselves into making it pleasing to others, when there is that outward expression through creativity, artistry, and beauty, for me it adds something.
If I had to sit it a small bare room and celebrate Easter it would not take away the joy or meaning. So I agree in a sense with you DKS, about whether we "have" to decorate. But I'm not going to be sitting in a bare room - I am going (I hope ) to be joining with others in my church family at 11:00 a.m. in celebration. I have taken on the responsibility of offering something to make the celebration more meaningful through visiuality. Is it necessary - no. We didn't have any decorations last year. But I am hoping that if I do what I am supposed to, that it will enhance the celebration of those present.
My colleague brought a chicken to Easter Sunday worship one year. It was the children's story. We covered the cage with a sheet after children's time. In the middle of the sermon, it laid an egg.
was that a comment on the sermon?
No idea. But I sold the story to Reader's Digest for $250.
DKS THat is hillarious.
Sure... what did you have in mind, dipping them in acrylics and then using them on the walls in the manner of paint brushes?
Nope . I was going to put them in baskets :)
And then use the *baskets* in the manner of paint brushes? ;)
Nope . No paint brushes at all :)
Our sunday school has always been involved in the decorating of the church. A few weeks before they would make crafts in Sunday School that would be used to decorate the sanctuary. It has been anything from fun foam flowers, butterflies, balloons, etc. The butterflies were my favorite though :)
I think for next year I will get the Sunday School involved in a variety of ways, including some suggestions mentioned above. While there is still a few weeks before Easter yet, I know that several of those Sundays there is no class time. As well it would not be fair at this point to ask the SS teachers to change their already planned classes that they are having between now and then to work on another project.
I will also remember the idea of having the Sunday School involved for Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating.
I'm also debating about having some chocolate eggs for the children to take home - what do you think?
Beloved , it is a wonderful idea BUT alergies abound and they do get lots of candy that day.
There are usually a few wrapped eggs tucked into corners & windowsills around our sanctuary on Easter morning.
worst easter service ever......chocolate eggs were hid...kids were told..and it was intergenerational...the kids were hyped on chocolate, and looking for chocolate everywhere throughout the service...including little girls in patent shoes running around the balcony (wood) which of course echoed throughout the sanctuary.
II'm also debating about having some chocolate eggs for the children to take home - what do you think?
And this has what to do with the resurrection?
In our case, chocolate is not allowed. We have a church dog and it would be fatal.
"My colleague brought a chicken to Easter Sunday worship one year. It was the children's story. We covered the cage with a sheet after children's time. In the middle of the sermon, it laid an egg".
I love this! I may ask our minister what she thinks of the idea for this year. Thanks!
Eggs symbolize new life. Chocolate symbolizes deliciousness. 'Nuff said.
If I had eggs for the children I wouldn't hide them. I would just give them to them at the end of the service as they leave.
We decorate with some potted plants - new life. Rather than Easter lilies we might have hydrangeas, pots of daffodils, tulips, etc.
These seem less of a problem for people with allergies.
One year we hid little wrapped chocolate Easter eggs in the pews. At the end of the service we had an Easter egg hunt. The adults had as much fun finding them as the children. We might do that again this year.
Chocolate eggs-some folks like me do not eat chocolate-it triggers migraines in me
One year my daughter and i led sunday school-we hid plastic eggs and Easter story eggs-everyone brought them back to us and we opened them one at a time-we told the easter story and opened the story eggs first-they had numbers on them-then we opened the other plastic eggs and everyone got a candy-gummy rabbits or gummy eggs-then we decorated fun foam crosses and the service was done!
May I ask about why we would bring commerical images of Easter into a service. Some of the suggestions fall into pimp my church ( you may have seen pimp my ride on tv) All flash and no content. Of course you could get pop up Jesus icons for everyone. It could go with the bubble head Jesus.
For me, it is not commercialism and pimping the church to acknowledge that the holiday also has strong connections to pagan times and the celebrations of spring equinox.
Dyed eggs were shared and eaten at spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia and China.
The egg is a symbol of resurrection. New life is contained in it. It is a big deal to Ukrainians, Poles, Bulgarians, Russians....
For religious reasons, there are many that Easter would not be Easter without egg symbolism.
Is it pimping simply because some mention chocolate and that is store bought commercialism?
My point was to make us think - on a more serious note why do we assume easter is connected to spring and pagan ideas. Of course we know that the early church was very good at taking over pagan customs and reading back into them as if there was universal essense flowing through - as if a dying rising hero was just be retold.
Also we read into eggs what we want - to claim a symbolic idea into them is just that our metaphor not the eggs - eggs are only eggs, sure chicks emerge, but why not take all emerging metaphors and then celebrate them.
Here is my serious theological point - what is easter really about? Do we not confuse the meaning but trying to attach cultural metaphors.... Easter is actually counter culture when we see what it meant in the Jesus communities - a nobody is raised - it should not have happened for this goes against all hero myths. Crucifixion was a political act to destroy the memory and the attraction of the one cruxified - yet we are celebrating a nobody and one who was to be wiped out of memory. Not some eternal return of spring as if this is a natural eternal return. All I am suggesting is some symbols actually go against the meaning of a symbol - gives us thin experience.
We decorate for Lent, with purple banners on each side of the cross on the back wall of the Chancel. (One depicts a crown of thorns, the other a hammer and nails.)
The cross is draped with a purple cloth hanging from each arm of the cross.
Typically we would have lillies on stands on either side of the Communion table. There have been concerns expressed about the scent (stench?) from the lillies, especially in light of the fact we are contemplating a "scent-free" policy for the church.
But who's to say what's appropriate or not? Why not try balloons, or other brightly-coloured decorations. Easter IS a happy time, and should be festive.
We read into eggs what we want and also it seems discard what we want.
Eggs were forbidden during Lent and brought back into the diet. So, for some they have deep symbolic meaning.
It is why pancakes were a big deal for Shrove Tuesday.
We finished up the eggs by making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday when I was a child. I think some Pope decreed that Lent was a fast - no meat no eggs no cheese. It was such a treat to get boiled eggs on Easter morning - though we didn't go completely without the meat..
One of the things we did with a past minister was to fill plastic eggs with a chocolate egg, an Easter sticker (Biblical image) and a Bible verse. We gave these eggs to all of the congregation during children's time (the children walked down the aisle making sure everyone got one). One year we had a youth group sleepover on Easter Saturday night in the sanctuary. They stuffed the plastic eggs before going to bed. In the morning they discovered that the "Easter Bunny" had come in the night and left them each a treat beside where they were sleeping.
At our church we have some beautiful butterfly banners made by an artist in the congregation that we hang each year. We also have a cross made of chicken wire with a wooden frame. When you enter the church you are handed both a bulletin and a daffodil and then invited to place the flower in the cross. During the processional, ahead of the choirs, a couple of people carry the cross down the aisle.
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