The Altar Guild Easter Egg Project dates back to the inaugural year of the Guild, 1927. During that year, the Guild started this enterprise which was most successful in raising money. The first year, egg models were designed by one of the Guild's newest members. In that first year approximately 200 eggs were made and sold for twenty-five cents each. The Guild reported at the 1928 annual meeting that they made a profit of $47.76.
The Easter Egg Project was on its way. Today, the "egg ladies" still craft handmade eggs and donate their profits to Emmanuel.
The preparation begins each year in June when the ladies gather to select the character designs for that year's set of eggs. Many are based on fairy tales, ecclesiastical figures, or legends. On a Saturday near Labor Day, dozens of eggs are boiled.
A chicken-wire frame is used to hold the eggs while they are spray-painted from various angles to give them a necessary protective coating. After painting the eggs, the delicate work begins. Members meet each Tuesday morning with glue, brushes, fabric, sequins, etc. to put the detail on the designs; they continue their work individually at home all year.
The eggs are eagerly sought by collectors both in Champaign-Urbana and elsewhere. The Guild fulfills orders shortly before Easter each year, at which point a sample set, labeled with the year, is also donated to the church to be archived in the "egg cases." Visitors to the office wing inevitably stop to take a look at this unique display. Vintage eggs and models from previous years may also be available for sale at times.
This project, undertaken long ago and still carried on by a group of generous ladies, has produced a unique example of Americana here in Champaign-Urbana!