A Journey through the Easter Trail

In this Easter season (I started writing this yesterday!) I thought I ought to take a break from the technical “how” of the trail, and remember the reason we did all of this – to share our faith in Jesus Christ with the primary school children audience in a relevant and engaging way. So here is a short impression of what the trail was like to experience, illustrated with some photographs from the Sunday morning when we ran the Trail for the regular St. David's Sunday congregation and Messy Church attendees to experience.

The journey started in the church hall (with a notice on the church door to re-direct anyone we didn't manage to catch!), where tables and chairs were set out for people to sit down and tea and coffee were served as people assembled. Whilst not the normal Sunday service, this is something we have done in the past (and had done the previous week in order to be able to set up in the church!).

Once most of the congregation had arrived, the Storyteller, in period Middle Eastern costume, introduced the event, explaining that the congregation would split into two groups and travel on a journey back two thousand years in time and to the streets of Jerusalem, a Jewish city under Roman occupation. The group assembled and headed off, out of the hall and outside to reach the main door of the church.

Entering the church from the porch, the group found themselves in the streets of Jerusalem 2000 years ago, outside a large Upper Room where a celebration of the Jewish Passover feast was just winding down. But, as the wife of the owner of the room told us we when got inside, this had not been quite the ordinary Passover meal. All the usual elements of the Passover celebration had been there, but Jesus had jolted everyone by adding to them – things that no-one expected. He had taken the bread, the ordinary flat unleavened bread of the Passover celebration, and had broken it, saying it was his body, broken for them. Not at all what was supposed to be done at a Passover meal.

Later on, Jesus had taken the jug of wine served with the meal, but he called it his Blood, shed for all for the forgiveness of Sins. Then he insisted everyone drank some, although no-one was very clear why, or what he was on about.

About this time, one of the Disciples slipped out, but without saying goodbye to anyone at the feast – which was a bit odd. Anyway, Jesus had said he wanted to pray, and took his Disciples off with him into the night. The wife of the owner of the room thought the most likely place they could have gone was the garden called Gethsemane, and suggested we try and find them there.

So we were lead out by the storyteller into the dark, narrow streets of Jerusalem, to make our way out of the City and into the moonlit garden of Gethsemane. We must have arrived quicker than Jesus and his friends, because no sooner had we arrived then we heard them coming through the trees and bushes, so we had to hide out of their way to see what would happen next.

Jesus left Disciples in a group and moved a little way away – directly towards us. I don't think he knew we were there, because he was praying very earnestly – in deep turmoil. He was begging to not have to do something, to have it taken away, if there was any other way. But he couldn't insist – God's will must be done, he kept saying. It was very dark, and a bit spooky. The disciples, meanwhile, were asleep – we could hear them snoring!
But that was nothing to what happened yet. There was a red glow of torches, and a noise of marching. Suddenly there were soldiers in the garden – we were definitely hiding now! They went to where the Disciples were, and there was some sort of scuffle. Everyone seemed to run off at that point, and the soldiers marched back away with their torches, taking with them whoever they had come for. We weren't that sure the soldiers had gone though, so we sat tight.

Next we knew, it was coming up dawn with the yellow glow of dawn coming up and birdsong. Then a cockerel must have woken up, because it crowed, two times together. Someone said that was a sign, although what of no-one seemed to know. The soldiers really did seem to have gone, so we sorted ourselves out and headed back into the City.
As we went, we came in sight of the place called Golgotha. It's a horrible place – we didn't go any closer than we had to, because the Roman Soldiers were executing someone there, hanging them on a cross of wood until they suffocated. We had had quite enough of soldiers so kept away, but there was someone else watching what was going on from a distance.

He was a man named Peter, and he was scared – really, really scared. He was one of Jesus' disciples and had been there in the Garden of Gethsemane, he told us, and the man the soldiers had taken away was Jesus – who had been in the Upper Room, and that Passover feast we visited. And now it was Jesus who the Roman Soldiers on Golgotha were crucifying. It didn't make any sense, to Peter (who was to scared to make sense of much) or to us. Jesus was a teacher, a good man, someone people looked up to. So how had he been sentenced to death so quickly, in just one night? Peter was all upset he had denied Jesus, three times before the cockerel crowed, he said. That same cockerel we heard crowing twice in the Garden. But someone else must have betrayed Jesus, must have done him in in a dirty little deal behind closed doors. Peter was off, back to his fishing boat, worried the soldiers would be on his tail next if stuck around.

So we moved on, back into the streets. Time was getting on, and the Jewish Sabbath was fast approaching, and no-one would be doing anything then. They kept their holy day very strictly, and with the way the Jewish High Priests enforced things you would have two. So to learn anything we would have to slip forward past the Sabbath day to the next day, Sunday, when the world would have to come to terms with what it had done in putting Jesus to death.

So we started early, heading off to another garden, not to far from Golgotha, where the grapevine said that they had buried Jesus, two days before after he was crucified. We weren't sure what we would find there, but we certainly didn't expect what did happen.

We were met in the garden near the tomb by Mary Magdalene, one of the women who had been in the group with Jesus. Not who we might have chosen to hang out with, but Jesus was like that – always accepting people most of use would have avoided. Anyway, Mary had obviously been crying – but she wasn't crying now. She was full of joy, laughing and talking. Apparently Jesus was alive! She had seen him die, like us, but there, that morning, she had seen him alive again! And sure enough, the tomb was open, his body was gone, leaving only the grave clothes behind. Suddenly the day seemed lighter, the garden full of flower and new life sprouting. Jesus had gone on to Galilee, his home turf, Mary said, and she had to go and find the Disciples to tell them to meet him there.
So off she went, leaving us to find our way back, back 2000 years and into the daylight outside the Church, but with a host of memories and experiences of those few days in Jerusalem, and what Jesus did for all of us, dying on that cross for all our Sins.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

More pictures are on St. David's website and my Flickr account.


An event like the Easter Trail is only possible through the hard work of a huge number of people, both on the days and over weeks either side setting up the church for the event and clearing up afterwards. There are no doubt people missing from this list, for which I apologise (if you know of anyone, please let me know).


Storyteller – Reverend Trish Davis
Host at the Upper Room – Marjorie Ford
Peter – Richard Davis
Mary Magdalene – Bethan Case


Technical Operators: Brian Pringle, Marion Clough, Hilary Ash
Off-stage Cues: Robert Pettigrew, Brian Hill, Bob Reynolds
Group Helpers: Hilary Ash, Elizabeth Pettigrew, Val Williams
Refreshments: Shelia Pugh, Pat Jolley, Barbara Owen
Craft Team: Enid Large, Jeanette Owens, Irene Wadeson, Lisa Gati
Technical Supervisor: Richard Ash
Photographs: Hilary Ash, Richard Ash

Set Up and Clear Down:

John Evans, Brian Hill, Judith Hill, Dot and Trevor, Irene Binns, Ray Sproston, Brian Jones, Val and Bob Williams
Production Co-ordinator: Judith Hill

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