Easter Wave

In a nutshell
Between 300 and 400 people took part in an ‘Easter Wave’ walk through the high street giving out free chocolates and balloons, followed by a short outdoor service that might contain some entertainment. Leamington used an escapologist but you might have something different available to you?
Who has done it?
Leamington Spa Warwickshire
Hope Leamington      http://www.hopeleamington.org.uk/
Why do it?
Churches Together in Leamington Spa wanted to try something different to a Walk of Witness on Good to make the event more colourful and joyful to really celebrate the good news of Easter. The idea was to make it a ‘wave of blessing’ hence the name ‘Easter Wave’ rather than Easter parade.
How did it work?
We talked to all of the local ministers to get an idea of interest in the idea
On the day we met at one of our churches to give people instructions, etc. and gave out the 300 helium balloons that had our web address and cards attached to them, ready to be handed out during the walk. We had asked people to bring their own chocolates to give away
The Salvation Army band led the way and we carried a large ‘HOPE Leamington’ banner so it was clear who we were. As we walked we had teams of people who stopped and chatted to onlookers, handing out our goodies and cards. We also had a team who went inside the shopping centre to see the shoppers and workers there so they didn’t miss out.
We gave out leaflets that said ‘with love from Leamington churches’ during our walk. We didn’t want to be heavy handed or put across any agenda other than blessing people but we wanted people to know who we were.
The Outcome
We had some great conversations and one old gentleman told us we had made his week as he’d never seen anything like this before. One of our team was approached in the shopping centre by a security guard questioning whether she had permission to collect money. When she explained she wasn’t collecting anything, just giving things away for free, he was astounded!
Top tips
·         Meet with the Police beforehand. Because a parade holds up traffic we made sure they were aware well in advance what we had planned and they were very helpful and supportive.
·         Have teams of people who can go and visit shops and shoppers who aren’t on the main walk route to make sure as many people as possible are blessed.
·         Be prepared for any weather – we did the wave in hail!
Lessons learned
·         We had to compromise on the date of the walk. Shops were closed on Sunday and Monday would be too late. We had to put aside the fact that the Saturday is still a more solemn part of Easter for the church in order to meet people where they were at.
·         It was great to do something with lots of churches joining together. That took a lot of planning and meetings to make it happen but it was worth it
·         The sound for the outdoor service wasn’t very good and so didn’t draw a very big crowd.
·         Don’t be afraid to just go for it! We didn’t feel we knew what we were doing but the event turned out really well and we’ll be better prepared for next year!