The highlight of the open air service on Good Friday was a dramatic presentation on the theme of “What is Truth?” This also reflected the theme of North Tyneside’s contribution to the BBC’s Great North Passion event at South Shields later that morning.
The drama involved movement and speech both by individuals and groups of people, punctuated by sharp taps of wood on wood.
Revd Liz Edwards led the service in Northumberland Square, which was also addressed by Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, who noted the good work done in the town feeding the hungry and caring for strangers. Singing was led by the Salvation Army, who also led the walk of witness round the town centre, with a stop for a Bible reading halfway down Bedford Street.
Thereafter there were services in various churches. St Columba’s had Messy Church, which included a puppet show. The hall was filled with the noise of happy chatter as children and others engaged in a variety of seasonal craft activities, including making mini Easter gardens, painting with fingertips, decorating Easter cup cakes, making Easter nests, colouring in ‘stained glass windows’, scratching out brightly coloured patterns on to crosses, decorating felt purses to hold a chocolate silver coin, sticking scenes from the life of Jesus onto crosses, decorating cross keyrings, sculpting with playdough, decorating pots and planting poppies.
During Holy Week, St Columba’s was also open for an hour in the mornings for prayer stations. Nine small displays around the church invited visitors to sit, read part of the Easter story from the Bible, hold a tangible object linked to that episode, reflect, and pray. The nine objects were coins, a rooster (although in that case the tangible element was string rather than a farmyard bird), a purple robe, thorns, wood, nails, a sponge, stone, and a white cloth. For those who were able to spend the time, they made for thought-provoking reflections.