Exploring the Mystery of Easter with Friends

Quaker Resources for Children’s and Adult Religious Education during the season of Lent, Easter and Pentecost

This is a place to share resources for children and families, and for adults to learn about and celebrate the Easter season.  In the Quaker tradition, every day is holy. Yet the Easter story brings up powerful questions about death, resurrection and rebirth.  Some Friends find value in observing the spirit of Christian holidays without the cultural and commercial trappings. 

  • How can we, as religious educators open the way to a Friends’ understanding of Lent, Easter and Passover? 
  • How can we, as religious educators open the way to a Quaker understanding of Lent, Easter and Passover for children, youth and adults?
  • How can we care for families holding multiple faith traditions only one of which is Quaker?
  • What can we share with RE colleagues from our experiences?

We offer these resources in the hope that you will use them, create others and share the mystery and wonder of this season in First Day School and beyond in your meeting or church.

Resources for Children and Families: 

An Easter Story for Friends  from the Faith & Play‚Ñ¢ Group. If your meeting is using Godly Play¬Æ and Faith & Play‚Ñ¢ materials, the free download of this story (released in 2014) may be a resource for approaching the Easter story. Beautiful handmade materials can also be purchased from FGC QuakerBooks.

‚ÄãExploring Godly Play Stories for Lent and Easter with Friends (by Melinda Wenner Bradley, Godly Play/Faith & Play trainer)

Easter Light: Seeking in the Spring of the Year (Wellesley Friends Meeting, NEYM)

Holy Week in a Box is an idea that might not be for everyone, but could be adapted and is a devotional way to approach the story of what happens between Palm Sunday and Easter using simple materials.  Each day from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday you share a part of the Bible story together, either reading it or retelling it, and wonder about the item in the box to which it relates. This is possibly a resource to recommend to families, and consider sharing this handout of instructions while inviting adaptation for Friends. 

An Introduction to the Life of Jesus for Quakers, Inspired by the Musical Godspell  available on “KidsQuake,‚Äù a Quaker youth outreach project supported by the Friends Media Project. This website is full of resources for young people and has lots to explore, including these multimedia lessons — passages from the New Testament gospels, historic context and explanation, music from the show, how the story connects to Quakerism, and queries for discussion. 

Teaching Children About Jesus ‚Äì Part 2 edited by Barbara Caldwell. Seven lessons on parables, miracles, Easter week, Resurrection, the road to Emmaus and Pentecost. Activities, background materials. Ages 5-10. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1999 (There is also a “Teaching Children About Jesus ‚Äì Part 1) 

Plays for Children: Temptation in the Desert” and “An Easter Week Play” — These plays were created by adults with little or no theater experience, for the upper elementary age and middle school children they were working with in First Day School.  The hope was to expose them to stories from the New Testament, acknowledging that this experience, including any misunderstandings, would later be followed by them reading it for themselves. The youth who who put on the plays were quite influential in how they were written, including a certain irreverence; for instance, Jesus being renamed “Bob” was an intentional choice by the youth so that nobody had to play “Jesus.”  

Wellesley Friends Seder (2010) — resources from NEYM Friends about the tradition of the Passover seder. 

The Light and Languages of Pentecost — musings on exploring this story among Friends and activities for First Day programs. (by Melinda Wenner Bradley, Godly Play/Faith & Play trainer)

Psalm Twenty-Three illustrated by Tim Ladwig: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1359687.Psalm_Twenty_Three

The Light of the World, by Katherine Paterson: http://littlebookbigstory.com/the-light-of-the-world-by-katherine-paterson/

Abraham’s Bind: & Other Bible Tales of Trickery, Folly, Mercy and Loveby Michael Caduto, https://www.amazon.com/Abrahams-Bind-Other-Bible-Trickery/dp/1594731861

In the Beginning: The story of Genesis and Earth Activities for Children, by Michael Caduto. https://www.worldcat.org/title/in-the-beginning-the-story-of-genesis-and-earth-activities-for-children/oclc/54767412

Stories of God at Home: A Godly Play Approach, Godly Play Foundation: https://www.godlyplayfoundation.org/stories-of-god-at-home-is-here/

Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, by Tomie de Paola: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/98407.Nana_Upstairs_and_Nana_Downstairs

Sparkling Still, Friends General Conference. Searchable online library of children‚Äôs books: https://www.fgcquaker.org/deepen/religious-education/sparkling-still/sparkling-still-librarything-collection . 

For Adults

The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem, by John Crossan and Marcus Borg: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/103340.The_Last_Week

Jesus ‚Äì the Last Week, (video, 26 minutes) John Dominic Crossan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdEnJtvBi84

Jesus ‚Äì the Last Week, (video, 14 minute version) John Dominic Crossan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3W666xJCyE

Jesus, a Revolutionary Biography, by John Dominic Crossan:  https://www.johndominiccrossan.com/Jesus%20A%20Revolutionary%20Biography.htm

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Bart D Ehrman: www.bartdehrman.com/misquoting-jesus-the-story-behind-who-changed-the-bible-and-why/

The Face of Water: A Translator on Beauty and Meaning in the Bible, by Sarah Ruden: https://pendlehill.org/product/the-face-of-water-a-translator-on-beauty-and-meaning-in-the-bible/

The Jewish Study Bible (includes the books Christians used in the Old Testament): https://www.logos.com/product/30983/the-jewish-study-bible

Who Killed Jesus? Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus, by John Dominic Crossan: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780060614805/who-killed-jesus/

Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/204177/jesus-and-the-disinherited-by-howard-thurman/


Exploring Godly Play Stories for Lent and Easter with Friends (by Melinda Wenner Bradley, Godly Play/Faith & Play trainer)
The Light and Languages of Pentecost — musings on exploring this story among Friends and activities for First Day programs. (by Melinda Wenner Bradley, Godly Play/Faith & Play trainer)

An Introduction

The Quaker Religious Education Collaborative (QREC) is an international, cross-branch, grassroots network of Friends sharing a stewardship for lifelong Quaker faith formation through religious education. We formed in April 2014 and now serve more than 300 Friends in our network. We actively engage and support each other across languages and continents. We gather for regional and annual conferences and offer monthly Conversation Circles via an online conferencing platform. 

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The Resource Library

Finders Guide, a sampling of the collection

The QREC Resource Library is a place to share lessons and other educational information in support of our work as Quaker religious educators. This library is a forum for curricula, articles, videos and other educational materials on Quaker themes. You will also find principles, policies and procedures to strengthen operation of your child, youth and adult religious education programs.

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