Having finished The Easter Code yesterday with our final morning in St Andrew's I had hoped to blog a few reflections yesterday evening on the whole event having finished it. However, events took over.
Then, before you know it, you move on to the next thing... and so my voice is feeling very rough this afternoon having spent the morning with my friend Bryan Kerr recording puppet sketches for The Tale Machine - the holiday club that we're doing in our respective churches this Easter and that Karen Harbison will be doing in the summer.
We decided as time was short to forget a script and just to go for it using the "Whose line is it anyway?" method of production! It worked a treat - or at least we thought so! And now over to Gill, our administrator, to try to make some sense of the recordings and create a script from them...
But what of The Easter Code? [There's more...]
A few different things struck me during and now reflecting on The Easter Code and what we were trying to do in helping the Primary 7 children get a better grasp of the events of Holy Week and what Jesus did in that week and on the following Sunday.
The first which became clear on day one was that this was quite a different event to our previous Bubblegum 'n' Fluff Christmas event for P6 children. There was a different and deeper tone to what we were doing. In part this will be down to the children themselves being a year older, but mostly I think it was because the journey we took the children through had some extremely thought provoking themes. On one of the days I saw one of the leaders leaving the particular tent I was hosting with a tear in her eye. This was after spending some time with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.
We sang a Fischy Music song called "When people are cruel" after the journey through the tents and its melancholic tone using the old American folk tune Laredo perfectly settled everyone for the stories that followed of the women at the tomb and then the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. On the first day we were going to end with another rather melancholic song, but we changed it to a much more upbeat resurrection song for the following days as we wanted to raise spirits in hope over the last 15 minutes or so of the programme. The song we chose we have hesitations over... maybe if I have time I'll write something for next year.
The feedback from pupils and staff has been superb - we ensure each school that visits one of these events is given an evaluation sheet so that the different elements of the event can be scored and comments left for us from the teaching staff. This feedback is an important part of good practise as far as Religious Observance within the schools is concerned.
One of the other things that has really struck me about both Bubblegum 'n' Fluff and The Easter Code is how very beneficial it is for all of us who are involved in preparing and leading it. The young people get something out of it, they learn more about Christmas and Easter, and they have a good time in church (always a positive!), but we adults get something out of it too. It has really brought us together as a team and the way we work together has got better all the time. The value of that is hard to quantify but very important.