“There are 14 stations depicting the life of Christ from the time he is told he will die on the cross till we put him in the tomb, right before Easter,” said Gayle Ehrig, Chamblee First United Methodist Church worship committee chair. She said the custom dates back to the Middle Ages when Christians traced Jesus’ footsteps.
“Through the years, the pilgrimage evolved to include stops along the way,” Ehrig said.
The inaugural event at Chamblee First is part of a new trend, she said, in which the depictions have crossed religious lines.
“They started out as a Catholic project and gradually spread over the last few years to Protestant churches,” Ehrig said. She said they are projects in which many worshippers can get involved during the six months it takes to get ready.
“We have borrowed many, many things from the congregation, from crosses to folding screens, to depict vignettes of his life,” Ehrig said.
The results will provoke serious reflection about the sacrifices Jesus made, she said.
“One station is when the Roman army tortures him and ridicules him as he goes before Pilate to be sentenced,” Ehrig said. “This is a solemn time in the life of Christ, not the happy time.”
Inviting the public has a solemn purpose, she said.
“Our objective is to bring people to Christ who do not know him,” Ehrig said. “For those who do know him, this is a time to reflect and grow closer.”
Shallowford Presbyterian Church also joins the trend, but with a twist. After dinner and a Maundy Thursday worship service March 28, residents can remain seated while the Stations of the Cross unfold before them.
Actor and church member Jeffery Brown is directing a cast of 18 children and adults in a stage version that originated in Scotland.
“We’re going to create the scenes in front of the audience,” he said. “It involves some acting, some tableaux and some picture-making on stage along with Bible readings. It’s very theatrical.”