Holy Week@HOME

With you household, family, support bubble or by yourself.

In preparation for Holy Week, here is a centrepiece you can create in your house as the focus for your thoughts and prayers. Each day there is a short activity/response you can do on your own or with your family/group to retell the story of the last week of Jesus’s life.

The centrepiece works a bit like a reverse advent wreath. Start with all the candles lit on Palm Sunday and Monday, and then you extinguish a candle each day and thus the centrepiece is dark on Saturday. And all candles are relit on Easter Day!

There are a few things that you will need to get ready so read through the list below in advance.

Remember you don’t have to do all of this, just start. Do a couple of days. Do what works for you and your family/group. Feel free to modify the questions for the ages in your group.

Get your family/group to join in the creation of the centrepiece and getting the props together. We remember much more of what we do than what we hear.


  • 4 White Candles
  • 1 Red or coloured Candle
  • Ceramic plate, tile or fireproof rectangular board (slate/stone/marble) that will hold candles and be large enough for extra things to be added to it.
  • Pieces of fern or palm branches, size depends upon size of your table/centrepiece.
  • Optional: Cut out clothes/jackets either from magazines or draw outlines like paper dolls clothes on small sheets of paper.
  • Coins or plastic gold coins
  • Olive oil or a bottle of perfume
  • “Sour” fizzy sweets, enough for everyone
  • Pieces of paper with a plate drawn on it to use as a placemat, or paper plates, enough for all members of your group. Pencils/pens /crayons
  • Purple Fabric or heavy paper cut into strips approx 8 x 15cm (one for each person) with a 1 cm cut in the short end of each strip. Also cut 2 extra strips, one 8x15 cm and one 8x 25cm.
  • Piece of muslin or black cloth that will cover entire centrepiece.
  • Plasters/strip of Elastoplast . One for each person
  • Small candle and holder, one for each person in your group. Tea lights in holders work well.

Please remember to use candles carefully , especially when small people are around and never to leave them unattended when lit. You can always substitute real candles with LED ones if appropriate.

DAY 1: Palm Sunday (pick a passage Matthew 21: 1-10, Luke 19: 28-40, Mark 11: 1-11,John 12:12-19)

LIGHT ALL 5 candles

Read the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem, and talk about what it would be like to be in the crowd when Jesus rode into town. What do you see, hear, smell? Are you excited, scared, angry like the Pharisees? Talk about this.

Add pieces of palm fronds or pieces of fern to symbolise the entry into Jerusalem. If you have younger children in your group or you are feeling artistic, make some paper doll size coats, jackets and palm branches and colour these and cut them out and place around the plate .

DAY 2: Monday: 

Cleansing the Temple. Leave Palm Branches around the plate for a couple of days and bring a bowl of pennies/coins to the table.

Read the story Luke 19:45-48, Matt. 21:12-17, Romans 8:35-39

LIGHT ALL THE CANDLES and ask someone blow out one of the white ones.

Pass around the coins and as you hold one in your hand think about the scene. What does it look like, smell like, what do you see, what are people saying?

The Money Changers were blocking people’s access to prayer & worship, especially the Gentiles.

What things block you from prayer?

What things keep you from worshipping Jesus?

What things (like the tables of the money changers) keep you from beingwith God?

TV, Texting, Computer time, social media, Sports, Video games, busyness, fear, worry, lack of trust, what else?

AS you hold your coin, TALK to God about these things. then take time to talk about this as a group.

DAY 3: Tuesday: Anointing at Bethany

LIGHT ALL CANDLES and ask someone to extinguish two of the white candles.

Read the passage. John 12: 1-11, Mark 14:1-9 Matthew 26: 6-13

The woman in the story gave Jesus her most valued possession. She honoured him with this gift of expensive perfume.

What is your most valuable possession?

It might be a material thing

It might be a talent that you have...

It might be your life or a member of your family!

Are you willing to give this to Jesus to honour him?

Are you willing to give up your most valuable, most precious possession in order to honour Jesus?

Pass around the olive oil or perfume and a dab on your forehead as a symbol of your willingness to honour Jesus.

Day 4: Wednesday Judas betrays Jesus

Light all the Candles and ask someone to extinguish 3 of the white candles.

READ one of these: Matthew 26:14-16 ( 17-21) Mark 14:10-11,Luke 22:1-6

This week, Jesus was betrayed by two of his friends, Judas and Peter. Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus.

Has anyone betray you this week/month/year?

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Take time to pray for the people who have betrayed you and those that you love. Pray for people or groups that are your enemies.

What about you? Have you betrayed Jesus lately? With your actions or inactions? Bad attitude, lack of faith, etc. Talk to God about these things.

Eat a sour sweet as a symbol of your willingness to forgive those who have betrayed you and as a symbol of your need for forgiveness.

Day 5: Thursday: THE LAST SUPPER

Light all the Candles and ask someone to extinguish the 4 white candles.

Pick one of these to read: Mark 14:12-26, John 13: 1-17 , Luke 22: 7-30,

Matthew 26: 26-30, Luke 22: 14-21

Place the 2 extra pieces of purple cloth/paper under the plate or candles to form a cross. (The others you will use on Good Friday).

Hand out a paper placemat or plate for each person

READ the Passage: Imagine the scene. Picture the colours, the smells, the atmosphere of the room.

Consider that it was Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, his closest friends. If it was your last meal what would you be eating and who would be at your table?

Write out or draw your menu for your last supper and name the people at your table on your placemat.

Take time to Pray for the friends you have listed.

Day 6: Friday GOOD FRIDAY 

Tonight, Light only the red/coloured candle. Pass around pieces of purple cloth.

Read the story: Matthew 27: 32-54, Luke 23: 26-49, Mark15:21-33, 33-40....

Extinguish the candle. IT IS FINISHED.

After listening to the passage everyone will rip their pieces of purple cloth in half symbolic of the temple curtain being torn separating the holy of holies when Jesus died on the cross.

Spend time quietly thinking about what Jesus went through just for you.

When the candle has cooled completely, ask someone to cover the centrepiece with a cloth symbolic of Jesus’ burial.

Day 7: Saturday: All the candles are out. 

The strips of cloth are on the plate.

Entire centrepiece is dark and covered with “burial cloth”

Jesus disciples, his friends have abandoned him and are hiding and afraid.

His body is buried in a borrowed tomb.

How are you feeling today about the death of Jesus? What if you didn’t know that Sunday was going to mean resurrection?

Talk about this

Hand around Plasters

Take time to pray for anyone you know who is suffering or sick or feeling afraid.

Pray also for friends who have suffered a loss or lost a loved one in recent months.

Place a plaster on your wrist as a reminder to pray for these people in the next few days.

Day 8 : EASTER!!!!!

If you covered your centrepiece, uncover and re-light them all!

Light all 5 candles before people sit down for the meal.

READ the Resurrection Story together! Choose one Matt.28:1-10, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24

Each person is given a small individual candle and these are lit in turn from the centrepiece as a symbol of Jesus resurrection and the Light returning to the World. Place the candle in its holder in front of you. Now we can share that Light and his love with everyone we meet.


EXTRA: Pray for places around the globe that need the Light of Jesus. Pick a country to pray for in the coming days.