Planning ahead for Easter

16 February 2022

Easter is one of the pivotal events in the Church of England’s calendar.

Purple Crocus blooming outside a church in the UK

Some of the largest congregations of the year will commemorate the resurrection of Jesus and all that this signifies to the Christian faith. Here are some of the main factors to consider.

The main factor to consider is one of pure numbers of people: Churches will see larger than usual congregations and will be holding a greater number of services than normal during this period.

Marcus Booth, Church Underwriting Manager at Ecclesiastical

"A lot of churches will also stage special events such as passion plays or Good Friday walks around the parish.”

With more people visiting the church and special events being held, it is even more important to make sure your church is safe and without risk to health. New visitors won’t be familiar with the layout and style of the church, so it’s important to greet anyone who doesn’t normally attend.

Planning Easter events

Even in soggy mainland Britain, Easter can mark the beginning of some decent spring weather, so many churches take the opportunity to hold fundraising activities such as sales and fayres.

Ensure the venue is suitable

Risk assessments should be carried out for fire and health and safety risks.

Consider increased number of visitors

Including parking arrangements, having stewards to direct visitors, checking exits and deciding how visitors will be evacuated in an emergency.

Plan first aid provision

This will be based on the numbers attending and the nature of the activities. It may range from a simple first aid box to a number of trained first-aiders.

Consider food and drink provision

Food hygiene and the requirements of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 must be considered. Where cooking takes place, a check should be made on the method of heating and its associated hazards, e.g. bottled gas and deep fat fryers.

Take care with bouncy castles

They are a major cause of injury to children. Read our bouncy castles safety advice and instructions if you're planning one for your event.

Check external contractors

Companies providing fairground rides or amusements must have adequate public liability insurance. It is your duty to check this before the event.

Children and animals

At Easter, there will be more children involved in church events than usual - Easter eggs hunts are a particularly common and fun activity. Your normal safeguarding policy will apply to any children’s activities.

When it comes to animals, though, things can get a little more unpredictable. Marcus notes. “One of the things we’ve come across is a church recreating Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday by bringing a donkey into the service. The church should make it clear that the animal’s owner is responsible for its behaviour while on church premises – what’s legally called its custody and control." But have a bucket and shovel handy!