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A birthday celebration

Pentecost (8 June 2014)

by the Revd John Challis

Suitable for Key Stage 3 - Church Schools


To give a simple explanation of Pentecost.

Preparation and materials

  • If possible, find or borrow a red chasuble and/or stole (your the local church may be prepared to lend you one or the other or both).
  • You will also need a birthday cake, candles and matches.


  1. Invite one of the students to come and put on the chasuble and/or stole. Say that this item is not worn often in church, but there is one season when it is usually worn.

  2. Then show the birthday cake and ask if anyone can guess the time of year you are thinking of. 

    Expect answers such as Jesus' birthday and then much laughter when you say that his birthday is Christmas Day, but try not to be too harsh!

  3. Bring out the candles and place them on the cake. Ask again, ‘What time of year am I thinking of?’

  4. Light the candles. Ask again, ‘What time of year am I thinking of?’

  5. This time, ask the student dressed in the chasuble to blow out the candles and also take some of the answers the other students are offering. Some may know, but others will not.

  6. Explain that Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit came in the form of fire and wind. Hence, you have candles for the fire and blowing them out as the wind. Red is the liturgical colour that churches often use for Pentecost and it is such an important time in the Church that we think of it as the Church’s birthday, hence the cake.

  7. Perhaps you could sing ‘Happy birthday’ to the Church! 

Time for reflection

Think about how happy we are on our birthdays  . . .

Now let’s be thankful, for this, the Church’s birthday!


‘Spirit of peace, come to our waiting world’ (Come and Praise, 85)

Publication date: June 2014   (Vol.16 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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