Guest post by Mary Ann Thurmond, Lamplighter Communications Coordinator

It was 2014 when the church held its yearly Easter egg hunt on the grounds. How fun watching our grandchildren and the different ages run and squeal while picking up the hidden and not-so-hidden eggs. When everything was finished, all of the participants sat on the ground in large circles, emptying out the contents from the eggs to take home and then putting the plastic eggs into large bins to be reused the following year. From chaos to calmness and children with all kinds and shapes of baskets, taking home their goodies. 

Curious, I asked Krista Wilford, Children’s ministry assistant, what the church did with these now-messy leftover eggs, many still partially covered with tape and broken apart. Her answer was that the staff would spend work/break sessions during the year sorting through the eggs, cleaning and matching the colored halves to re-snap, readying them for the following year. This looked like a personal fun project that could help the small staff, so I asked if I could take them home, to be returned later. With surprise and then relief, Krista agreed.

The next surprise was when Roy saw six huge bins coming into the house! We both were working full time but spent several weeks in the evenings and weekends sifting through eggs with leftover candies, prizes and lots of tape. It was a fun and actually relaxing project. The 4,000+ eggs were counted and separated into ziplock bags of 30 eggs each, ready to place in the church halls during Lent. Church members would pick up bags of empty eggs and return them filled with the candy and surprises that the children so loved to find. Krista was pleased and so were we.

The following year, volunteering again, Roy and I decided to involve more people and invited the Lamplighter members to stay over after class to help with the process. Twelve persons responded and almost completed the project; it took one more session the following Sunday for completion. By this time, class members were hooked, so Janet Sheahan, the class missions coordinator, and I became co-chairs for the project, making it official that the Lamplighter class would love to take this on permanently as one of the four service projects the class does at the church and in the community each year. (That’s what grandparents and loving adults do, isn’t it?) 

In 2017 Krista arranged for the group to meet in the Rash Hall lunch room, providing treats and very organized instructions to help the process go smoothly. Assembly lines were established, assignments made and around 25 volunteers whipped through sorting 4,000+ eggs! All was completed within less than two hours. One of the beauties of the program is that any person can participate—most of the participants are seated, so it doesn’t involve physical activity—and the camaraderie and sense of competition between tables add to the fun. 

The program expanded, and the following two years Krista moved the group into the large Rash Hall where there was room for the more than 25 volunteers each time. With feedback from both Krista and Janet’s organizational skills, the program details were now tweaked into even greater efficiency. Almost 4,000 eggs were processed in a little over an hour (which would have been fun to see in a high-speed video). The project is now aptly named the Easter Egg Prep Party.

The 2020 session was completed this past Sunday with 27 volunteers who, again, completed the job in a little over an hour. Krista’s snacks and hot coffee welcomed the group, and we dived in to the colorful conglomeration of eggs, readying them for the big hunt. How many eggs did the “sort and sack” session yield? 4,395! And we’re looking forward to the next year as well.

What began as a personal project blossomed into one that allows many others to make it personal as well—serving both the church staff and the families bringing their children to a very special event—and for the personal satisfaction of serving our Lord together in a warm and loving community.

Thanks to all the other volunteers who fill the eggs and who “run” the actual hunt day that’s filled with high anticipation and energy (not an easy job!). Filled eggs—hidden on the grounds—found and emptied by happy children; eggs sorted—cleaned—and refilled to be used again. A wonderful picture of our hunt for God in our lives, finding His grace and undeserved mercy already spread before us. God uses and reuses us for His service as we find and distribute His gifts, and we have the awesome privilege of participating in His restoration—thanks be to God. Happy Easter to all as we celebrate His resurrection.

Help fill Easter eggs
Empty Easter eggs are available for your family to take home, fill with candy or small trinkets and return to the church. Eggs are located outside Seabrook Hall, Wilson Chapel and the Sanctuary (west side lobby). Pick up eggs on Sundays, March 1 or 8 and return filled eggs to those locations on Sundays, March 15 or 22. Make plans to join us for our Family Easter Celebration and Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4 from 10 a.m.-Noon.

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