Planning ahead for Easter

05 April 2023

Easter is one of the pivotal moments in the Church's calendar

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 more services than usual

Paul Collins, Head of Risk Services 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 and safety. 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 Ireland, Easter can mark the beginning of some decent spring weather, so many churches take the opportunity to hold fund-raising activities such as sales and fètes.

Ensure the venue is suitable

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

Consider crowd control

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 food safety regulations 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

These can be a major cause of injury to children. Read our 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 a lot more children involved in church events than usual - Easter eggs hunts are particularly common. That means considering health and safety arrangements and ensuring that any volunteers working with children are garda vetted.

When it comes to animals, though, things can get a little more unpredictable. Stephanie 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 church.

“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."