Thousands to take part in Lancaster's 'Way of the Cross'

 The City of Lancaster will be turned into first century Jerusalem on Good Friday (April 18) as the last seven days of the life of Jesus are recreated in its streets. Thousands of people are expected to follow the dramatic events which marked the most important week in Christian history. Costumed actors, followed by a huge crowd, will enact events from Christ's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through the excitement of the first Holy Week. The event will begin with Jesus being welcomed into 'Jerusalem' by hundreds of school children waving palms as he comes down East Road past St Peter's Cathedral into Dalton Square. There street entertainers will be celebrating the Feast of the Passover. Various scenes will then take place around the square and adjacent streets, depicting the last hours of Jesus' life. Finally the procession will go up the hill to Calvary and Crucifixion outside the Cathedral, and into the Cathedral for the Resurrection. "It will be a marvellous experience and bring the Bible alive for everyone who shares the experience," said the producer, Canon Peter Ballard. "The execution of Jesus will take place in front of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, at a spot passed over 400 years ago by Catholic and Protestant martyrs on their route from the castle to be executed at Golgotha, a place on the outskirts of the city. "The evening will conclude with Jesus rising from the tomb and people from all walks of life and every Christian denomination and none going out into the Lancaster of the 21st century to proclaim the greatest news in history," said Canon Ballard, Director of Education for the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn. The pageant, staged by the City Council and Lancaster Council of Churches, will run from 6.30pm to 9pm. "People are invited to come along in the dress of first century Palestine (blanket with a hole in, and a tea towel on your head!) or in the dress of today, and take part in this unique event as a member of the crowd," said Canon Ballard. "For the children and their parents, this will be one of the best RE lessons ever! It will also be a one-off opportunity, as the event is unlikely to be staged again until 2013." More than 3,000 people followed the first "Way of the Cross" presentation ten years ago, said Canon Ballard. He said: "It was a night that many who took part would never forget, and for some it changed their lives for ever." Source: Lancaster Diocese/Methodist Media Office

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