The Easter Journey in Charlton Deanery
Having successfully run the Christmas Journey for the last five years, the Charlton Deanery Schools project decided to trial the Easter Journey during the last week of term. Seven year 5 classes came on the journey at Christ Church East Greenwich over the first three days of April. There was also a community performance on a Saturday so that anyone could come and experience the journey for themselves.
The Easter Journey is an experiential journey from the triumphal entry to Jerusalem through the events of Holy Week and culminating in a scene with Mary Magdalene and Jesus in the resurrection garden. The whole class is led round the journey by a ‘story teller’ with the class divided into four groups with a journey leader so that there can be reflection before, during and after the journey.
There are eight scenes in all: Palm Sunday; in the Temple; The stone that the builders rejected; the last supper; the garden of gethsemane; the crucifixion; the day in between and the resurrection garden. It is a journey full of drama and emotion which is heightened by use of the senses. For example, the shock of Jesus sweeping away the money changers’ tables, tasting bread and grapes at the Last Supper, hiding and listening in the darkness of the garden of Gethsemane and the contrast between the darkness of the ‘day in between’ and the light of the resurrection garden.
The journey gives 9 and 10 year olds the opportunity to piece together bits of the story and work out the connections and links for themselves. It was wonderful to hear children having that moment of insight when they suddenly ‘got’ the ‘parable of the stone that the builders rejected’ or when they realised, in the darkness of the garden, who the soldiers were coming to arrest.
All the class teachers gave excellent feedback and we had lovely comments and appreciation from visiting parents. One teacher was moved to tears by Mary, mother of Jesus’ powerful monologue. One said, ‘It was an excellent, immersive and age appropriate experience for the class’ and another, ‘moving from scene to scene was a really effective way to draw the children into the story’ and ‘the Easter Journey really brought to life what Christians believe about Jess and the real meaning of the Easter festival’.
The team of volunteers found it an inspiring project to be involved with, profound and moving. We will definitely be doing it again.
Revd Margaret Cave
Chair, Charlton Deanery Schools Project