A Stations of the Cross Experience

As we prepare for Lent 2011 at the church I attend, McKendree UMC in downtown Nashville, I've been remembering a stations of the cross installation we did at The Well, a gathering we held at Grace UMC in Mt Juliet, TN from 2005-2006.
Here's what we did and how we did it. You can view photos for most of the stations on Flickr.
I should say first that the installation we did was very three dimensional and certainly interactive. We didn't want to do an art exhibit, we wanted it to be something that participants engage in. It's also an individualistic contemplative prayer experience.

We made the mistake of setting a time as if this were a worship service. So, everyone showed up at the same time. For other installations we realized we should just open it up to the community for several hours and ask people to come as they please during that time.

So, when we did installations of this nature later, we would allow just a few people in at a time and stagger them in. We would always encourage family members and spouses to travel through this experience in silence on their own. On the other hand, we encouraged parents of small children to take their kids with them and explain each station to them. This is an experience even toddlers can get a lot out of.

We got a lot of ideas from Stations of the Cross installations on Small Fire and from around the net, but as we worked on it, the stations took on a life of their own.

Here are the guidelines we went by, along with pictures.

WORSHIP SPACE
  • The space should be open with plenty of room between each station
  • Place large printed numbers at each station so people know where to go after each station
  • Use overhead projectors to project stained glass windows on the wall
  • Room should be darkened and lit by candles and small lamps
  • Stained glass light bulbs are perfect for this and can be bought at Target or Wal-Mart
  • Use artwork at each station for each particular event. Always seek art from within the community, but we also print classic images from the internet on photo paper. Get cheap frames at Big Lots, Dollar General, or Wal-Mart to make them look like real pieces of art.
  • Use tons of fabric - particularly on the tables, but even on the walls or floors.

MUSIC


Background music is incredibly important for setting the mood during this experience and can be played from an iPod or computer.
  • Ambient music, drumless/rhythmless, preferably dark in minor keys.
  • Middle Eastern influenced ambient music works very well
  • Should be quiet but heard
Selections from the following albums are suggested:

STATIONS:

Each station included:
  • Instructions on 17x11 paper
  • Prayer on 8½ x 11 paper
  • Reflection instructions on 17 x 11 paper
  1. JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DIE

    Participants are invited to remember the times they have washed their hands of Christ.

    Supplies:
    • Images of Pontius Pilate washing his hands
    • 2 large bowls, preferably stone/ceramic (old) - one is filled with "blood", one is filled with water
    • Pitchers of fresh water
    • Karo Syrup & red food coloring
    • Wet wipes
    • Paper towels
    • Large trash can
The water bowl needs to be emptied and refilled from time to time when no participants are traveling through the stations

  1. JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS

    Got this idea as well as the idea for stations 6 and 11 from Grace, which is held at St. Mary's Church in London. Check out their stations here.

    Participants take a hand cross to carry with them until they "offload" it at station 11


    Supplies:
    • Hand crosses cut from cardboard boxes

  1. JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME

    Supplies:
    • Easel with painting of first fall
    • Large cookie sheet with sand. hand and knee prints and a few drops of blood

  1. JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER


    Participants view items and images that conjure up images of Christ's childhood as Jesus remembers his life with this woman, his mother.

    Supplies:
    • Empty manger with swaddling cloths
    • Virgin Mary candle (available in some Kroger Hispanic sections)
    • Items that conjure images of a small boy and mother

  1. SIMON HELPS JESUS CARRY HIS CROSS

    Participants add a rock to an already heavy backpack to represent a sin in their lives. Preferably they continue to walk with the backpack until station 11.

    Supplies:
    • Rocks & bricks of different sizes, shapes and texture
    • Backpacks/knapsacks

  1. VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS

    Participants help create a community icon of Christ's face

    Supplies:
    • Cloth with blood/sweat
    • Torn pieces of construction paper or magazines depending on which direction we decide to go
    • Large thick posterboard for mosaic
  1. JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME

    Supplies:
    • Easel with painting of second fall
    • Large cookie sheet with sand, larger prints and a little more blood

  1. JESUS MEETS THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM

    Got the idea for this and station 11 from Sanctuary, which was held at St. Matthew's Church in Bath, England. See pictures here.

    Participants ink their fingers and leave prints in the book as they view images of women from their lives

    Supplies:
    • Scrapbook with pictures of women from the church as well as famous women from the world
    • Washable kid ink pads
    • Wet wipes
    • Paper towels
    • Large trash can
  1. JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME

    Supplies:
    • Easel with painting of second fall
    • Large cookie sheet with sand, more pebbles, larger prints and a little more blood

  1. JESUS IS STRIPPED

    Supplies:
    Mural of artwork depicting the stripping of Christ

  2. JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS

    Participants nail the hand crosses they've been carrying since station 2 to a large cross. Backpacks from station 5 are left beside the cross as well.

    Supplies:
    • Large black cross
    • Carpet or large area rug
    • Hammers (preferably of different sizes)
    • Bowls of nails

  1. JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS

    Participants are invited to write a confession on a post-it note and stick it to the cross. they are instructed to take a candy as a sign of God's forgiveness.

    Supplies:
    • Sponge on stick
    • Bowl of vinegar
    • Crown of thorns
    • Large nails (railroad ties)
    • Robe
    • Post-it notes
    • Pens and pencils
    • Bowl with hard candy

  1. JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS

    Supplies:
    • Empty blood stained cross
    • Printed artwork of this event

  1. JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB

    Supplies:
    • Large white canopy with walls
    • Overhead projector projecting tomb on outer wall
    • Green carpet (preferably golf-grass or a carpet like they use in tents at burials)
    • Coffin
    • Flowers
    • Candles (preferred scent is hydrangea, lily, other flowers to conjure up memories of the "funeral home smell")
    • Images of Christ in tomb
    • Dark fabric hung on walls
    • Small table with juice and bread

4 comments :

  1. Where can I find the print out that you used at each station?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I mean the instructions print outs for each station

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. is there a place that we can access the print-outs that were at each station?

    ReplyDelete