Easter’s Holy Week

Four actors in middle eastern costume stand in a group acting a scene from a Passion Play.

What is the meaning of Easter’s Holy Week?

The Holy Week of Easter culminates with the central event of the Bible and of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The free Passion Plays that take place across the UK every year tell the story of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection, but what are the other dates of Holy Week and what do they mean?


Palm Sunday

This is the start of Holy Week and is also called Passion Sunday. On this day we remember Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on a humble donkey. He was greeted by crowds of people who waved palm branches and welcomed him.

“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven”


Maundy Thursday

The day when Jesus celebrated his last Passover with his disciples. Passover is the time when Jewish people remember that God rescued them from Egypt with a great exodus. During the Passover feast, they ate unleavened bread and roasted lamb and drank wine and Jesus described the bread as a symbol of his body that would be broken and the wine as a symbol of his blood which would be shed for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:17-30).

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”


Good Friday

The day when Jesus was crucified. This day is often commemorated as a day of mourning, of fasting and of sorrow. However, it is named ‘good’ Friday because on this day Jesus was killed in our place and suffered the weight of sin and its penalty of death so that we could be forgiven and given eternal life.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


Holy Saturday

The day when Jesus lay in the tomb after the crucifixion. In the Gospel of Matthew we read that when he Christ died, the earth shook, there was great darkness. During this time Jesus descended into Hell. This descent is described as a triumph because he defeated the Devil and released  people from the tyranny of death. For many centuries, this was described as the  ‘Harrowing of Hell’.

1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”


Easter Sunday

The day when Jesus rose again. In the Gospel of Matthew we read that after Christ died, the earth shook, there was darkness, and many people rose from the dead. Then, after his resurrection graves opened up and released their dead and many of them walked about in Jerusalem and were seen by many people there.

Acts 2:24 “But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.”

Is fundraising like online dating?

Online dating is trying to find the right match among many differnet people. Fundraising for Passion Plays is similar to online dating in one respect: trying to find the right match for your Play among different trusts and funding charities. Finding this perfect match is the key to raising funds to tell the Easter story!

Once you find trusts and funders who are of a similar mindset and value the things you value, you are well on the way to a perfect match.


How do we find potential funders?

The Charity Commission’s Register of Charities allows you to search for free by using filters to narrow your search. (Remember, Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate registers.)
Funding Central is another register that is free to access.
For a more expensive option, you can try the Directory of Social Change’s Funds Online website which is regularly updated.
Since Passion Plays bring many churches of all denominations together, your diocese can be a good source of information and signposting. For example, see the Diocese of Bristol and their list of funders here.  www.bristol.anglican.org/documents/diocesan-funding-guide/
The Christian Funders’ Forum is also a useful source.


How do we let funders know our project is a good match for them?

Now is the time to do some research and really think about compatibility with the funders you are researching.

You can research their online content, websites, and also Further information will be inread through their annual reports published on the Charity Commissions website (click ‘Documents’ tab). These annual reports will give useful imformation about projects they have previously funded.

A quick phone call can also be helpful in establishing contact and goodwill as you will be able to find out more about them and let them know what you do.

Remember here that one of the key elements is timing! Some funders have a set application process that requires you to apply before a deadline. Other funders have trustees’ meetings at set times during the year and those times are good to work with.

The timing of your project also matters. Some funders like to fund projects in the early stage of development, while others like to give funding when they see other funders have already contributed.

There is a lot to think about with fundraising! But Passion Plays are such unique projects that it can also be an enjoyable process. Many funders like to hear about large community arts events that tell the Easter story in fresh and inspiring ways. Not only do Passion Plays have large outdoor audiences across the UK each Easter, they are also unique spaces of community, skill-sharing, mentoring and investing in the lives of volunteers across all sections of society. They are more than a one-off performance and the impact spreads across the whole community for many months.


Where can I find more help with fundraising?

If you want more help with fundraising, we have plenty more tips and advice on our website here.

We have recorded sessions from previous Passion Trust Conferences including sessions looking at Finance & Fundraising, Administration and Practical Considerations, and Q&A sessions. You can see more information and watch short helpful videos on our website here.

You can also find lots of helpful tips and advice at The Benefact Trust here or click on the image below.

three bullet points with rows of text and images in blue bubbles with white icons for help with fundraising


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