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/ 19 March 2018

A children’s ministry idea: Easter christingles?

Easter Christingle

One of the best things about children’s workers is that they often have plenty of ideas, are keen to share them and will have a go to see what works and what doesn’t. The most fruitful children’s ministry that I’ve experienced has been when a team allows members to explore original, perhaps outlandish, ideas and expects to see a God of surprises in action.

The Messy Church team that I am part of is like that. Meetings around the planning table are characterised by lots of laughter, lots of serious thought and lots of fast-moving ideas.

This Lent has seen one such idea become reality.

Over two years ago after the Christingle service, I was reflecting with Jonathan Brooks, the children’s worker, on the symbolism surrounding a Christingle.

We ended up having one of those ‘How about if we…?’ moments:

“How about if we had an Easter Christingle?”

We had several ideas, but then it was Christmas and the idea was parked, in fact, forgotten. But this Lent it resurfaced.

A small group of us have made Easter Christingles. The photo is of a three-week-old Christingle, with only two weeks to go. Here is how it works:

• The green apple represents the world, fresh and unblemished at first, but over the course of Lent the apple will go bad, representing the fall and all the rottenness in the world. There’s an added symbolism in that, while the fruit Eve offered to Adam is not identified, tradition holds that it was an apple.

• Inside the top of the apple, wrapped up in foil at the base, is a white candle. It represents the light of Christ, white and pure, come into the world, but not yet lit.

• Four pieces of garden dowelling are tied together to make two crosses, either side of the candle, representing the two thieves.

• Cocktail sticks, stuck around the top of the apple, represent the crown of thorns.

• Three pieces of wool are plaited together, red for blood, black for death, purple for Jesus’ robe. They are fixed to the apple, with a drawing pin, representing the nails.

This Christingle is already rotting and may end up outside the back door. But come Easter Day, we will bring it inside, replace the plaited wool with a strip of gold tape and light the candle. For the light of Christ has conquered all evil.

We might place the candle in a fresh green apple, but by doing that we would lose the reminder of rottenness and sin which caused Christ’s death.

There is time for yet more ideas and input. It’s a work in progress, but I wanted to share it as there’s still time to make one.

For me, my Easter Christingle has an additional significance. It recognises the lasting value of teamwork in children’s ministry. That’s worth raising a glass, or apple, to!


About Ro Willoughby

Ro Willoughby works with children, families and people of all ages at St Michael’s Highgate.

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