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  Easter Balloon: Idea, Planning, Mini Service, Experiences

Preparing an Resurrection Sunday Balloon Release

Following are some suggestions for holding a balloon release, from my friend, Pastor Bill Hunter, who has conducted such services.

1. Look in the Yellow Pages under “balloons” for local businesses where balloons may be purchased in quantity.

2. Bright yellow, environmentally safe balloons are preferable. Churches may wish to have their balloons imprinted (at extra cost, of course) with the name of the church, a title such as “Easter Balloon Release,” and an appropriate verse of Scripture. Contact city officials to be sure there are no laws or restrictions on balloon releases. There is concern by some environmentalists about the danger to birds, ducks, geese, fish and other wildlife, and obviously the idea here is not to offend our neighbors. So be sensitive to your community. Balloon releases, however, are common at many sports events and at various celebratory occasions. State laws and local ordinances may vary considerably.

3. A Balloon Release Committee should be appointed to make preparations for the release and to have the balloons ready early on Easter Sunday morning. It would be appropriate for a youth group, with good adult supervision, to carry out this task. Scripture verses may be printed on sheets of paper and cut into smaller size and glued to the strings that will be used to tie the balloons. This activity can be done days in advance.

4. The balloons should be filled with helium. Cylinders can be obtained from various sources. A local party supplies store may provide information on where the helium gas cylinders can be obtained in your area.

5. The balloons themselves should be readied early on Easter Sunday morning. One church filled the balloons the day before, but by morning the balloons had lost so much helium they had become quite soft and were therefore not as effective for the balloon release. As the balloons are filled, the strings with the glued-on Scripture verses can be tied tightly on the balloon neck. A bit of experimenting may be necessary to get the participants organized and the procedure down pat.

6. The pastor or worship leader should make the Balloon Release’s intent, location and procedure clear to the congregation during the preceding Easter worship service. As the people leave the church building, they are handed a balloon. Sufficient numbers of helpers should be on hand to insure that the Resurrection Balloon Release may be done promptly on the church parking lot. Too few helpers will complicate the timely regathering of the congregation on the parking lot.

7. Adults should help children hold their balloons tightly. Expect children to become excited about this event. Besides distracting the people, having children releasing balloons in an untimely and uncoordinated manner is not only distracting but may cause the loss of the effect of a mass release. It would be helpful if in their Sunday School classes children would be instructed about the procedure and meaning of the balloon release.

8. Especially for a large congregation, it would be essential to have a sound system available so that the pastor’s voice can be heard and the actual release of the balloons coordinated.

9. In order not to have the congregation scatter to their cars, during the brief waiting time for re-gathering, the Balloon Release service should be short and to the point. That is why making it an actual part of the continuing worship service is such a good idea. Stress that the Balloon Release “mini after-service” will take only about five minutes. Strive to get the cooperation and participation of every attendee at the worship service.

10. Every church and local situation will be different. There is no set procedure for a Resurrection Balloon Release. This “mini-service”, with minor revision, was conducted following a morning worship service on Easter Sunday 2000 in Maple Lake, Minnesota. The Balloon Release Committee should have ample opportunity to exercise creativity in planning and execution of a service appropriate to the church.

11. The most effective approach to a Resurrection Balloon Release would be for all the churches of a given community to participate in the event and to coordinate their individual releases. Pastors’ creativity and planning would be vital to the success of such a witness. The rising of hundreds of balloons over a community is sure to attract attention and questions.

© Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard.