Taking the easter story to schools — by kids

Kids relive Easter

New Plymouth primary schools have experienced the Easter story close up at a local Baptist church over four days of outreach to mostly year three to year six schoolchildren.

“Easter Alive”, a bi-annual initiative sponsored by the New Plymouth Christian Leaders Network, has run since 1992. Children are transported free from their schools to and from the church venue, and organizer Arthur Adolph says only one school in New Plymouth does not participate.

Several thousand children attended the event last week, plus extras who went to the evening sessions for families.

Easter Alive was the vision of a New Plymouth minister to reach out to children with the Gospel and “a way of touching into the schools”, says Mr Adolph.

The presentation consists of seven scenes portraying the final hours of Jesus Christ’s life from His entry into Jerusalem through to the crucifixion and resurrection.

Mr Adolph says a session starts from the car park of the church, which stands for the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The children enter a room for the Last Supper, and walk into the foyer for the Garden of Gethsemane. The denial by Peter is dramatized in one corner of the auditorium. There, the children sit in the middle of the auditorium, and do a turnabout for the trial scene. From there they traverse into the hall for the crucifixion and resurrection.

Church members play the roles of Jesus, Peter, James, John and Judas following a script and a narrator tells the story.

“The script is designed at children’s level with sufficient information so they can piece it together. Children from non-church backgrounds need to have those fill-ins so they have understanding of what is happening,” says Mr Adolph.

Interaction is encouraged.

“At the last supper four or five children are selected to sit at the table and at the trial they can call out ‘Crucify’ him, or ‘No, no’.”

About 70 children go through each 35-40 minute presentation.

At the end, each child is given a pack containing an Easter bun, a Bible Society Easter brochure, coloring materials, a find-the-missing-word game and a list of children’s activities in local churches.

By Peter Veugelaers.

Published 2005, Challenge Weekly.

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