Theme Scheme – eBook

Theme Scheme: Creative Ideas, Activities, Games, Puzzles, Quizzes
By Rosalie Sugrue

Revised and expanded July 2018. 

eBook Publication Details

Revised and expanded: 15 July 2018
Words: 37,540
Pages: 164 approx
Language: English
ePub ISBN: 9781927260180
Kindle ISBN: 9781927260173
PDF ISBN: 978-1-927260-91-3


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This revised and expanded edition of Theme Scheme offers you a wealth of creative ideas, activities, games, puzzles, plays and quizzes to help plan, organise and lead your group’s programmes. All are fun and practical, requiring minimal equipment, resources and time to prepare.

The first section covers a whole year, month-by-month, to help you celebrate New Zealand and international anniversaries, national days, organisations and causes.

Games are a wonderful way for folk to mix and get to know one another. There are easy instructions for indoor and outdoor games suitable for active, young people, through to less mobile, older people. Great for convenors, leaders, teachers and diversional therapists.

The book also includes sound, straightforward guidelines for running small group meetings, covering rules for happy meetings, an agenda and minutes structure, and the role of the person leading the meeting.

Special Sundays and church related activities through the year are highlighted. This section also notes related plays and readings in Rosalie’s companion book Ten Plays: Short, easy dramas for churches (available in print and as an eBook).

The last two sections of material for themed quizzes and trivia competitions on general and Bible topics will keep your group entertained and interacting with each other throughout the year.

About this revised and expanded edition

In the first section, months of the year, dates for National Observances and Appeals have been updated, and new entries added.

In the Games section, these games have been added: Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?; I wrote a letter to my love; Hunt the Slipper, What’s the Time Mr Wolf, Hide and Seek, Sardines, fun and games in the swimming pool, Oranges and Lemons; Large Ball Relays; Bullrush; Scavenger Hunts and Eating Chocolate off a plate.

Other games have been revised to make the instructions clearer and to allow for less mobile participants.

In the Quizzes section extensive lists of Words within Words and a selection of Bible riddles have been added.

Website links have been checked and updated.

Countries statistics have been updated to include the latest population sizes and life expectancy.

Māori words now have macrons where needed.

Book Review

Rosalie Sugrue, Theme Scheme. Creative ideas, activities, games, puzzles, plays, quizzes.
(Wellington: Philip Garside, 2014) 157 pages.

Theme Scheme is packed full of ideas that are, as stated on the cover, fun and practical, requiring minimal equipment, resources and time to prepare. These are commendable qualities for activities and readers will not be disappointed. There are ideas here that could be developed into an evening’s programme or used to help people relax and feel comfortable with each other at the beginning of any meeting. As the author writes, This book has grown out of a philosophy of caring by sharing. Those wishing to shape thoughts or activities around a specific theme will find much on which to draw.

The book begins with the months of the year. The very name of each month may provoke ideas. There follow suggestions suitable for the seasons of nature and church, and for particular anniversaries falling within each month. International commemorations, national days and appeals are included, often with helpful background comment. Many of us know the date of Waitangi Day or Hiroshima Day, or when Mother’s Day or Labour Day fall, but Rosalie draws attention to occasions such as World Health Day or Heart Week that otherwise may pass us by. We may also wish to mark Walk to Work Day, Maori Language Week, Sign Language Week or World Habitat Day. It’s all here.

The months of the year are followed by a section on games. There are parlour games, moving and mixing games, party games for active people, games for young people, large space games and games for Christmas. There are simple instructions for games suitable for everyone regardless of levels of fitness or confidence. There are also quizzes on general topics including New Zealand facts, random items of history and word teasers and a separate section of Bible quizzes. As Theme Scheme was originally compiled for church groups, there is a helpful section on special Sundays and church activities relating to such events as saints days, Bible Sunday and Week of Prayer for World Peace.

For those wanting some new and participative way of marking an occasion or introducing an idea, Theme Scheme has a surfeit of resources. It is a place to begin but, as Rosalie says, use members’ expertise where possible and don’t forget their whanau, free leaflets, libraries and the Internet. She also offers some general pointers and tips for running small group meetings to ensure that meetings are well-organised yet flexible and happy occasions where everyone feels included and valued.

This review scarcely does Theme Scheme justice. It is overflowing with ideas developed from the author’s own experience with groups. It is available in hard copy or as an ebook.

 Reviewed by John Meredith, editor
in Word & Worship: Winter 2014.
(Quarterly Publication of the
New Zealand Lay Preachers Association)

As reviewed in Word & Worship: Winter 2014 (see below) and featured on Maren Tirabassi’s Gifts in Open Hands blog.

List of Contents

Introduction — Themed Gatherings

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December



  • Parlour Games
  • Moving and Mixing Games
  • Party Games for Active People
  • Games for Young People
  • Large-space Games — for energetic, suitably clad, young people
  • Games for Christmas

Ideas for Church Groups:

  • General pointers
  • Fellowship Meetings
    • Minute Minder and Agenda Guide
    • Role of ‘Person in Charge of Meeting’ (PCM)
  • Special Sundays and Church Related activities

Quizzes on General Topics:

  • Days of the Week Gods
  • Greek and Roman Gods and Goddess
  • Planets named after Roman Gods
  • Famous Couples
  • New Zealand Facts
  • Facts about other countries
  • Famous New Zealand Books and Authors
  • Maori gods and goddesses
  • Maori Words
  • Famous Kiwis
  • Animal Quizzes
  • Word Teasers
  • Words within Words
  • Common Expressions: Are they from Shakespeare or the Bible?

Bible Quizzes:

  • Biblical Journeys
  • Biblical Places
  • Biblical Partners and Lovers
  • Food in the Bible
  • Flowers, Fruit and Nuts in the Bible
  • Bible Foods and Who Ate them
  • Bible Children with stories
  • Bible Mothers and their Children
  • Bible Fathers and their Sons in Genesis
  • Other Biblical Fathers and their Sons
  • Biblical Fathers and their Daughters
  • Bible Trees
  • Who or What completes the phrase?
  • Bible Characters synonymous with a particular action or quality
  • Bible Firsts and Lasts
  • Bible Numbers
  • Bible Riddles

About the Author

Rosalie Reynolds Sugrue is a fifth generation West Coaster. Both her parents being fourth generation Coasters whose forebears came seeking gold. Rosalie’s great grandfather, James Reynolds, was a local preacher from Cornwall who preached to miners on the beaches and helped establish the first Methodist church in Hokitika. His wife, Eliza, signed the petition that gave women the vote.

Rosalie’s mother Elva Reynolds was a Methodist Deacon and also a lay preacher. Rosalie is a past president of the NZ Lay Preachers’ Association, and the inaugural facilitator of the Methodist Lay Preachers Network 2004, serving as a co-facilitator until 2008. She has led hundreds of church services in New Zealand and the UK. She has also led rest home services, family services, cafe style worship, house blessings and devotions in many other situations.

A wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and author now retired Rosalie has worked as a psychiatric nurse, teacher and motellier.

She has been active in Jaycees, the Methodist Women’s Fellowship, the Community of Women and Men in Church and Society, National Council of Women, the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues, Victim Support and U3A.

She continues an active role as a lay preacher leading one to three services every month in a variety of churches.

Rosalie Sugrue’s books available from us:

Sophia and Daughters Revisited: Reflections on Women of Biblical Connection

Rediscover these characters as spirited, wise women of passion and compassion. This easy-to-use book has strong feminist imagery and references focused on women of the Bible. Updated and expanded, it now provides reflections on Tamar, Dinah, Naomi, Michal, Vashti, Jephthah’s Daughter, Lenna Button, Susanna Wesley and Ann Turner to use in church during the sermon slot. Includes prayers & dialogues.  Click to order  Print or eBooks.

Lay Preaching Basics: A Practical Guide to Leading Worship

Do you want to learn how to preach and lead worship, but don’t know where to start? This practical guide by experienced Methodist Lay Preacher Rosalie Sugrue will get you going.

Click to order  Print or eBooks available.

Theme Scheme: Creative Ideas, Activities, Games, Puzzles, Quizzes
(Revised and expanded July 2018)

Theme Scheme offers you a wealth of creative ideas, activities, games, puzzles and quizzes to help plan, organise and lead your group’s programmes. All are fun and practical, requiring minimal equipment, resources and time to prepare. Click to order Print or eBooks. 


Ten Plays + : Short, easy dramas for churches
(Revised and expanded January 2021)

Lay preacher Rosalie Sugrue’s short plays and meditations are ideal to present in church. They encourage us to engage with Bible and historical characters, and explore important themes. Staging is simple. Few props or costumes are required.

Click to order Print or eBooks.


The League of Lilith: A thriller with soul. Written with her son Troy Sugrue

Sarai, a Biblical Studies lecturer, learns a terrible truth; a core knowledge she must impart to a successor. Will she choose society wife, Jen, or bondage and discipline prostitute Kat? The lives of these two women collide in unexpected ways around Sarai, while in the wings lurk a coven of Wiccan witches, and the dark desires and dealings that threaten Jen’s husband, Wilkin. An explosive novel with a dramatic climax.  Click to order eBooks.

 Greens and Greys

Journey with Molly Sinclair through her 1950s childhood on the West Coast, her move to Christchurch for teacher training, drama-filled OE in the UK and Europe, and as she returns to New Zealand in the mid-1960s. This engaging coming-of-age tale sweeps us along as she meets unexpected joys and overcomes life’s setbacks.
Free group Study Guide available.

Click to order Print or eBooks.


 Green, Ho! 

Green, Ho! is an extended version of Greens and Greys that adds another dimension in the form of hidden disability.

Free group Study Guide available.

Click to order Print or eBooks.