Here at Vitalise, we are just settling back into our regular pattern of prayer, worship and chaplaincy after a hectic but enormously fun Holy Week and Easter. Our staff, volunteers and church members juggled all our regular work with one-off chaplaincy sessions, organising our interactive Palm Sunday service, building a prayer space at one of the city centre churches, and some top notch cake baking!
Palm Sunday Storytelling
How do you retell the one of the most well-known stories in the world? How do you make the story of the Passion speak to both a person who has heard the story all their life and to someone who is hearing it for the first time? This was our challenge this year. We love the Palm Sunday tradition of retelling the story of Holy Week in its entirety and wanted to create a service where both new and more mature Christians could encounter Jesus in the story of his betrayal, arrest and crucifixion.
Some images from our Palm Sunday service.
Storytelling is something we are really passionate about at Vitalise, so we decided to set up different interactions stations exploring different parts of the Passion narrative. As Nicola and Kate took turns to retell different parts of the story, we moved between them. We shared bread together as we heard about the last supper; we prayed for God to help us in our own ‘Gethsemane’ moments, and we even had a go at tearing the curtain of the Temple ourselves.
The Garden – A Gethsemane Themed Prayer Space
Everyone who knows WPM knows we love a big creative project! This Easter, St Peter’s Collegiate Church very kindly agreed to host our latest one – an enclosed prayer space (alternately referred to as a prayer station, tent and pod) designed to help explore the themes of isolation and longing articulated in the account of Christ’s experience in the garden of Gethsemane.
The frame for the prayer space took shape thanks to Nicola’s excellent DIY skills!
So much of our meditation on the Passion – particularly in Holy Week – occurs in large spaces (like church buildings) and with others, at the likes of Good Friday vigils and Maundy Thursday services. We wanted to create a space where people could explore the themes of loneliness in this story in a more enclosed environment.
The completed prayer space.
Poetry and Bible passages were hung from the frame of the prayer space, and users of the prayer space were invited to respond to them in their meditation time, if they so wished.
After all this meditation on the cross came the light of Easter day and the WPM Easter service. Nicola preached on the message of the empty tomb, of the conquering of sin and death, with Kate’s prayers focusing on the personal reconciliation made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection. Of course no Vitalise celebration would be complete without mountains of cake, which the community generously supplied (and consumed)!
Our decorated Easter Sunday cross.
The WPM staff and volunteers enjoyed a well-deserved break last week but are now back in action – after all, it’s now only 3 weeks until our annual weekend away to Wales!