Secretary's report

I am writing still in the warm afterglow of this year’s Passion Play, although the lower hall is now cleared of the cardboard Jerusalem that was constructed in it last week. Once again we worked with a wonderful mission team from Vienna, and once again the children of our church played a leading role devising a theatrical production to share with our whole community. The lower hall was all industrious cutting and sticking and constructing, and over the first days temples, houses and inns shot up to be painted by the younger participants. Having built our Jerusalem we then worked on acting out the Jesus story with puppets. Puppets is a loose word, for some them were objects such as whisks and bottles of hand sanitiser. Luckily one of our guests was a *professional puppeteer* no less, and was able to teach us all enough to start bringing these objects alive and investing them with the spirit of the characters we sought to portray.

Theologically we sought to highlight the way that Jesus’ message arose during a fierce debate regarding the nature of Judean sovereignty and cultural authenticity. Was it better to cosy up to the Romans, reject them, or fight them? Rather than join in the argument on this side or that, Jesus challenged his followers to look beyond their immediately apparent political choices and transform their relationship with God and with one another. Us Christians like to see ourselves as the disciples: imperfectly but nevertheless devotedly following Jesus. But certainly we are often more like the squabbling factions of Roman era Jerusalem: wilfully obfuscating the kingdom of God with petty debates and discrimination. Jesus is an alternative to this. Our play reflected on his childlike faith that the law should have a purpose and a fulfilment, his startling ability to see through hypocrisy, and the liberating teaching that it is better to honestly assess the state of one’s own heart rather than labour to falsely present oneself as morally pure.

We presented all this dramatically by packing a ‘best of’ of Jesus’ conflicts with the authorities (as found in Matthew) into the trial scene that precedes his imprisonment. Despite Jesus’ heartfelt diatribe against the self-serving posturing of his ostentatiously religious accusers, they find him guilty of course. Our play ended with the crucifixion read from the Gospel (accompanied by some gruesome sound effects from the children) and then, to represent the resurrection, all the puppeteers ripping through a paper doorway and joining the crowd, bearing snacks and drinks. Fans of John 21 will know that our last scene was most biblical, and a fitting finale to a play that sought to follow Jesus in his practice of letting the natural togetherness that humans are capable of overflow the barriers that we place between us — including the 'fourth wall'.


Caiaphas: Coco
Sadducee: Anne
Pharisee: Christian
Zealot: Charlotte
Jesus: Katherine
Mary: Pj
Judas: Frida
Peter: Anselm
Disciples 1 - 4: Cole, Isabel, Joachim, PJ
Witnesses 1 - 3: Cole, Nathania, Debora
Storyteller: Wilf
Angel: Fiona


Ewan — Music
Matt — Music


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