Ten years ago, churches and schools from across The Church of England in Lancashire helped establish a very sweet new mission project.
Since then ‘The Real Easter Egg’ project has reached millions of people and crossed all denominations; offering a simple way to share the Easter Story while supporting Fairtrade and charitable projects.
Throughout the past decade the Diocese has strongly supported the initiative with ongoing promotion to parishes to purchase the egg – including regular encouragement from Rt Rev Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn.
The idea for The Real Easter Egg began in 2008 when David Marshall, pictured, a former Church of England Communications Director, was given a chocolate Easter egg.
On the side of the box it read: ‘Easter is the festival of chocolate and loveliness’.
He searched for an Easter egg which mentioned the Christian story of Easter.
It became clear that out of the 80 million eggs on sale there was not a single manufacturer who was willing to mention the religious aspects of the festival.
So he asked churches and schools to help crowd-fund The Meaningful Chocolate Company to manufacture the UK’s first ‘Real Easter Egg’.
For it to be a ‘Real Easter Egg’ it had to reflect the Easter themes of hope and new life and do three things – have a copy of the Easter story in the box, be made from Fairtrade chocolate and support charitable causes.
Ten years on more than a million eggs have been sold with over 750,000 sent through the post. The rest have been sold through retailers and supermarkets.
Nearly £275,000 has been donated to charitable projects with Fairtrade Premium fees paid to farmers allowing them to buy everything from school books and solar panels to providing fresh water.
For Easter 2020, there are five types of Real Easter Eggs available, all with new content and the Diocese, including Bishop Julian pictured with eggs from a previous year, is once again supporting the initiative.
Each egg has an edition of the Easter story included.
There is a new 24-page version in the original and dark eggs with activities, biblical text and a prize competition worth £200.
There is a poster activity version of the Easter story in the Sharing Box and Fun Pack and a simple guide version in the Special Edition.