Yesterday was Good Friday, and for the first time Berrywood Church marked the day with a church event. We only started meeting regularly in May last year so didn’t do anything at Easter then – in fact I was in the maternity ward with my wife on Easter Day last year waiting for the arrival of our daughter.
But what would be do that would be suitably commemorative of the day as well as welcoming and accessible to those who don’t usually come to church. I’ve led and been to numerous Good Friday family services over the years, and have never been a great fan of them. Inspired by the Walking Church idea, we decided to engage with some of the stations of the cross, or the Anglican Way of the Cross as part of a walk. Stopping six times around a local forest, I led a short reading from the Good Friday story, left a little time for reflection, and led a short prayer at each station. We ended it off with an egg hunt for the kids at the forest play park, and then disembarked to the cafe. The whole thing took about an hour for the short walk at toddler pace.
We had many of our regulars, a couple of extras who we know but don’t attend our gatherings, and two families invited by our regulars to join us. Going for a walk is something that many people do on a Bank Holiday anyway so inviting people along was no problem. And going on a nice walk at the same time as marking the season whilst also avoiding having to sit through a church service, was, apparently, quite appealing. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, despite the unseasonably cold weather and the ice still on the ground!
We might well be doing this again next year!