I have been to St Mark’s Church at Christmas when the children of St Mark’s Primary school run the service. I have been very, very impressed.
What would it be like when they run the service for Easter?
This evening I found out. I was very, very impressed. Not only was I impressed, but I found it deeply moving.
On entering the church I found musical chairs was still in play, only the people do not move the pews move.
Following a brief welcome by the Rector Rev Ian Hedges, the children took over and ran the service for a little over half an hour.
We had a group of players, actors or performers, call them what you will. They were all dressed the same, in oversize creamy yellow t-shirts, several, like prisoners, had stamped on the back who they were, for example Jesus, disciple, soldier etc, and black shorts. They were told they could go home as they were dressed, they did not need to change, but please if you do, remember to take home the clothes you arrived in.
Another smaller group of children narrated the scene, using what I assume were taken directly from or adaptation of the Gospels.
Another much larger group of children sang.
As the children narrated, the players performed mime.
The story was told from the Last Supper through to betrayal, trial, beating, execution and burial in a tomb.
It was incredible to watch. Well deserving of putting on as a stage performance.
At the end, thanks from Ian to the children and an excellent summing up.
Ian held a wooden cross. Said how they had been hammering in nails. The play deliberately ended at a low, Jesus being executed on a cross, carried off to a tomb.
Seeing the cross of nails, I thought of the medieval cross of nails from Coventry Cathedral that Canon Andrew White wears and the good work he does in Iraq and the Middle East.
The children were year 3/4, which meant absolutely nothing to me. I asked. They were aged seven to nine years old. The school groups the children together spanning two academic years.
I lit a single candle for my friends Mio, Paulo, Andrew and several others. I seemd to have started a trend as several of the children then lit candles.
I only wish my lovely Japanese friend Mio (a kindergarten teacher) could have been there, as she would have loved it.