‘Junior church’ members present Stations of the Cross

DOVER — The prophet Isaiah writes “and a little child shall lead them.”

But on Good Friday evening, more than one child took the lead in a special presentation of the Stations of the Cross at The Cross Church of the Nazarene.

Using posters they had made during “junior church” over the last few weeks, the children stood ready to show visitors the traditional 14 stops depicting the last hours of Jesus on his way from the trial where he was condemned to die to the tomb where his body was placed and from which he arose on Easter.

Once 11-year-old Austin Huddleston, of Dover, explained how Jesus carried the cross he asked for specific prayers from those at his station: from left, the Rev. John Evans, Cross Church pastor the Rev. Timothy Evans and Eleanor Drinkwater. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Once 11-year-old Austin Huddleston, of Dover, explained how Jesus carried the cross he asked for specific prayers from those at his station: from left, the Rev. John Evans, Cross Church pastor the Rev. Timothy Evans and Eleanor Drinkwater. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

The stations, also known as the Way of the Cross, circled the perimeter inside the sanctuary on North Little Creek Road.

While the church, co-pastored by the Rev. Timothy and the Rev. Cheryl Evans, has done the stations in the past this is the first year of having children do the presentation.

A dual purpose was behind the decision to mix it up from the more traditional worship services of past Good Fridays.

The pastors wanted Good Friday to be a special day for the congregation, but they also saw it as an opportunity to minister to the “junior church.”

“The primary reason is we want the kids to understand what Good Friday is about,” said Mrs. Evans.

Over the last few weeks the children worked on posters that depict Jesus making his way to the cross. One shows him stumbling as he carries the cross to Calvary. Another shows him with his mother while another depicts him nailed to the cross and then being taken down.

In addition to making the 14 posters, the children, ranging in age from 5 to 15, also gave short presentations to people stopping at each station.

The children were given free rein in creating the posters.

“We told them it’s a memorial service, a funeral for Jesus,” Mrs. Evans said.

That explained the flowers many of the children placed on their posters.

“The cross wasn’t pretty,” she said, “but kids see flowers at funerals so they put flowers on their posters.

“They worked hard. One of the boys said it was the ‘best junior church ever.’ ”

Once visitors completed the 14 stops at The Cross Church of the Nazarene’s Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening, Ella Rash, 5, of Magnolia — with help from Sheila Spangenberg of Smyrna — gave them a commemorative card and led them in a final prayer. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Once visitors completed the 14 stops at The Cross Church of the Nazarene’s Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening, Ella Rash, 5, of Magnolia — with help from Sheila Spangenberg of Smyrna — gave them a commemorative card and led them in a final prayer. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

The Stations of the Cross, more common in Roman Catholic services on Good Friday than Protestant denominations, became significant to the Evanses a few years ago during a visit to Colorado to attend a conference. While there they went sightseeing and one stop was in a New Mexico town that had promoted a bronze Stations of the Cross on a mountainside.

“It was a labor of love” for the creator, said Mr. Evans. While most were three-quarter sized, the cross was life-sized.

The two started the journey anticipating only hiking to a couple of the stations before going on their way. Instead, they climbed the mountain trail to see all. The spiritual impact they felt encouraged them to want to share their experience, he said.

“We want to make the Stations of the Cross come alive.”

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