Over the last few years, the Meaningful Chocolate Company has been selling what it calls the Real Easter Egg. There are a number of features of this egg that set it apart from the others on the market. First of all, it’s made with FairTrade chocolate. This means that the people who grow the cocoa beans are being paid a fair wage for their labour. Furthermore, their communities are being helped because the proceeds of a small premium added to the price of each egg are spent on a community project like a school or a well. There are other FairTrade eggs, of course, but this is a good selling point for anyone with a conscience.
Secondly, a percentage of the profit is given to charity. This is very rare, if not completely unique. From egg sales since 2011, the company has donated over £40,000 to different worthy causes. For a start, there are regular gifts to Traidcraft Exchange, a development charity which helps small-scale farmers and producers all over the world. In addition to this, money has been given to Baby Lifeline, The Leprosy Mission, and Christians Against Poverty. This latter organisation is a national charity working across the UK to lift people out of debt and poverty, offering free debt counselling through a network of 252 debt centres based in local churches. You might like to know that Christ Church Ware is one of those churches – help really is “at hand” in these financially troubling times. Buying a Real Easter Egg really does produce all kinds of ripples of good in this country and overseas.
But the third aspect is what makes this egg the Real Easter Egg; it has the Easter story on or in the box. The company’s founder wrote recently, “When we first revealed the Real Easter Egg, I was asked by a journalist, ‘What’s Easter got to do with the church?’ I had to explain that Easter is in fact a religious festival and not owned by Cadbury! This year, The Real Easter Egg radio advert was rejected by the radio authority. They seemed unsure if Easter was Christian and so wanted our advert to say that our eggs had a copy of the ‘Easter Christian story’ in the box. We argued the point and they have decided that, ‘on balance’, Easter is a well-known Christian festival.”
But it’s less well known than it was. In March 2005, the Daily Mail reported that just 48% of British people questioned said that Easter was about the Resurrection of Christ. Two years later, on 3rd April 2007, a press release from Somerfield supermarket declared, “Brits will on average be enjoying over 3.5 eggs each over the Easter weekend alone. But over a quarter don’t know why handing them out symbolises the birth of Jesus…” (My emphasis) This was later corrected to read ‘the rebirth’ of Christ, and then, after consultation with the Church of England, a third version correctly identified that Easter celebrated the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
There’s no doubt about it; ignorance of the world-changing story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is increasing in what has historically been recognised as a Christian country. Will you be celebrating it this year? What example does your practice set to your children and grandchildren? There are plenty of church events, and everyone is most welcome…