Sunrise Easter Picnic
Last year the minister of our small church decided to do something different for the Easter service. For years the sunrise service had been modestly attended, but this year the minister thought more people might come if the service were held outdoors. I suggested the idea of having a breakfast picnic after the service. I knew a nearby park with a hill that had an unobstructed view of the sunrise. The church could provide coffee, tea, muffins, croissants, and pastries. He thought my idea was great.
The flyers announcing the event were printed in black ink on several different shades of pastel coloured paper. The minister and I handed them out after the Palm Sunday service. Below the graphic of a rising sun, were details of the time and place, and instructions to bring a picnic breakfast and a blanket to sit on.
An hour before sunrise two volunteers from the church, the minister and I went to the park to set up for the service. I had rented a white lattice archway. I set it up at the east side of the meadow and draped it with artificial ivy and lilies. The volunteers set up the table, covered it with white linen and set out the four air pump coffee dispensers. They carefully labeled the ones that had coffee in them, and then put the boxes of tea, sugar and milk on the table together with the pastries and croissants. They put out the wicker baskets of napkins, plates and plastic utensils last.
The harpist arrived as the sky was becoming lighter and set up to the right of the arch and started playing. Members of the congregation began arriving in ones and twos then a whole group arrived who had carpooled together in the church van. Many families had brought their children with them.
By the time they had finished spreading blankets on the grass and sitting down, the sun was just starting to rise and the minister started the service. The harpist accompanied the hymms. The service was beautiful and went perfectly.
After the service everyone got out their picnic breakfasts. People were eating and chatting together and generally enjoying themselves.
Once breakfast was finished, it was time for the games. Each child was given a hard- boiled egg and instructed to roll it over the grass only using his or her nose. The first one to cross the finish line would win a prize. Everyone had a great time watching the kids having fun. Next was the egg hunt. Church volunteers had made several dozen hard-boiled eggs and dyed them in every colour. There were also plastic eggs filled with, chocolates, sweets or small toys inside for the children to find. Each child was given a brightly coloured basket and told to first find an egg for themselves and then one for another child so that no one would be left out of the fun. The minister, volunteers and I supervised the hunt to make sure the children didn't stray too far looking for eggs and helped the younger children find some too.
Not only was there a great turn out, everyone had such a great time the minister decided we will have a sunrise sermon and picnic every Easter.