'Messy Holy Week' will help you explore the Easter story

by Canon Bob White, vicar, St Mary's Church, Fratton
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IT seems strange to say I am looking forward to something called ‘Messy Holy Week’!

First of all, you might not know what Holy Week actually is. It’s an important week in the life of the Christian community.

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During the week leading up to Easter Sunday, we recall the events of the last week of Jesus’ life – from his entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (which we celebrate on Palm Sunday) to his death on the cross and his burial in the tomb (which we remember on Good Friday).

Canon Bob WhiteCanon Bob White
Canon Bob White

In sharing this journey, we are then ready to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, and the joy of the new life bursting out of that tomb at Easter. Holy Week is therefore normally a time of prayer and reflection. It is a sombre period in our life.

However, over the last couple of years at St Mary’s we have had a ‘Messy Holy Week’. This is not a description of my desk or study (although it might be apt!) or of how the church will be, but a morning of activities to explore the events and themes of the week.

‘Messy Church’ is a way of doing church that involves parents, carers and children, and it originated at St Wilfrid’s Church, Cowplain, in 2004. It’s now an established part of church life across the globe, in thousands of different churches. And it helps families to engage with Bible stories via songs, art, craft and other activities.

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So this Saturday (March 23), you’re invited to join us from 10am at St Mary’s in Fratton Road to explore the key events of Holy Week with your children.

Relive the crowds welcoming Jesus by waving palm crosses, the last meal he shared with his friends where he washed their feet and invited them to share bread and wine in remembrance of him, his death on the cross and burial – and finally his new life pouring from the broken tomb.

There will be a range of crafts and activities, including egg painting, bag making, candle decorating, making paper crosses, producing Easter cards and much more.

The morning is a gift from St Mary’s to all who come along, and so is free of charge – as is the modest lunch that we’ll serve at the end of the morning for all who wish to stay.

However you mark Holy Week, we hope that through it you may discern more the significance of those events and the new life that Christ can bring to you.