On the last Saturday in March, Easter was being celebrated BIG style for ALL ages both inside and outside of the church hall at Preesall, St. Oswald’s.

Rev Naomi led the innovative ‘Family Church’, which was described as an opportunity to explore the Easter story using the senses, including songs, multi-sensory activities and stories.  There were several willing participants from St. James’ regular congregation.

Blessed with blue skies and sunshine, the event got underway.  A congregation made up of both familiar and new faces, babies, toddlers, school-aged children adults, and retirees gathered together for an opening prayer, songs of praise and an introduction by Rev. Naomi.  It was an eclectic mix of people, but all connected with a desire to celebrate Easter Saturday in a joyful, fun-filled and original way.

Activity stations were set up both inside and outside, inviting participants to try their hand at crafting, woodworking, playdough and junk modelling, paint walking, bath salt making, colouring, in addition to water and sand activities and biscuit decorating.  Each activity was linked to the senses and to specific parts of the Easter narrative.

From the very young to the most senior citizens, all loved getting involved, working through the challenges on offer and completing their tasks.  Miles of smiles made it clear, that this was a most enjoyable way to access the sequence of events leading up to Easter Day.

Refreshments were on offer throughout the activity sessions.  Toasted hot cross buns and brews were received most gratefully by those who had worked up an appetite by completing the challenges.

Finally, Rev. Naomi gathered everyone back together to watch a short film about the events of Holy Week, featuring characters made from Lego bricks!

A shared communion was experienced when Rev. Naomi broke some bread and tasked the little ones to share it out amongst the congregation, and likewise with the ‘wine’ (red fruit juice).

The event concluded with a selection of action songs of praise, which challenged the nimblest people!

For an hour and a half, everyone present had been immersed in the Easter story, accessing and experiencing it in a multi-sensual way.

Was it enjoyable?  Yes!

Was it successful?  Definitely!

Was it thought-provoking?  Absolutely!

Rev. Naomi and her faithful volunteer helpers had provided a church service with a difference, based on the tried and tested ‘Stay and Play’ model, but this time, it appealed to all age groups and took some steps forward in helping to break down perceived barriers to a more traditional church.

Alleluia!  Alleluia!