A Passion for Your Community

ONE FRIDAY is helping hundreds of people do something exciting in 2018; something unique and public that will engage communities in re-telling the story of the Passion of Jesus. 

The Concept

The last few years have seen a dramatic decline in knowledge of the Bible. Good Friday remains a Bank Holiday, though increasingly shops are open and many people wonder why they’ve been given a day off work. To keep the story of Jesus alive we need to find new ways of telling it in public places.

Throughout the ages Christians have responded to the Good Friday story by commissioning public art or music, or by performing Passion plays. Churches of many denominations still meet together ecumenically through Lent, or mark Good Friday with a combined service, or a Walk of Witness.

ONE FRIDAY is encouraging local inter-church and community groups to do something different in 2017; something unique and public that is specific to their location; something that will engage their community in retelling and reflecting on the story of the Passion of Jesus.

ONE FRIDAY will take many different forms. It might be an event in the open-air on Good Friday, or an exhibition in a community venue, or a procession that retells the story in a series of locations. We will be providing a host of downloadable ideas and resources that can be adapted to any setting. The common thread will be the Scriptural Stations of the Cross. At the beginning of Lent each “station” will be assigned to an individual or community group, who will be asked to respond to it through art, music or other forms of creativity. These contributions will be woven together into a unique offering from and for the community.

Every community expression will be different, but they will be linked by the title ONE FRIDAY in… eg Buxton / Lambeth / Aberdeen. Common branding will enable us to generate national and local media interest. We are seeking endorsement from national church leaders and organisations to make this a truly national and ecumenical event.

Why Good Friday?

The story of Good Friday is at the core of our cultural and religious life. We simply cannot afford to allow it to pass from our community memory. We need to find fresh ways of retelling the story for a new generation.  But hearing the story is not enough. The challenge to produce a response to the themes that enables us to connect them to our own lives.  Those who follow the path of Jesus for the first time may find that it has a remarkable power to speak to their own experience.  Those of us who have walked this road many times may find a fresh understand of it from the responses of creative adults and children in our communities.

Why Stations of the Cross?

The Stations of the Cross represent the events that happened to Jesus as he made the journey – just about half a mile – from his trial to his execution. For many hundreds of years Christians of every tradition have re-enacted this journey along the Via Doloroso, the Road of Sorrow, as they remembered the last hours of Jesus’ life. Those who couldn’t make pilgrimage to Jerusalem have recreated the route in their own locations, using art or sculpture to express the aspects of the story.

Through the years the precise number and description of the stations has changed.  Roman Catholic tradition settled on fourteen stations, but some of these recorded events that aren’t in the Bible account. In 1991 Pope John Paul II inaugurated a revised set of stations based only on the Bible text.  These Scriptural Stations of the Cross are the ones ONE FRIDAY is based on – though some groups may choose to bypass some of the stations to fit their context.

For each station we have allocated a theme and provided notes to help groups relate to and respond to the story. So the journey through ONE FRIDAY touches on betrayal, mercy, forgiveness, family, death and finally hope.

Following the stations is simply a way of retelling the story of Jesus road to death. But it is more than a journey of the head. The progress helps us to explore the very human emotions that Jesus felt as he made his way to the cross. As we feel our way through the journey we feel that we are travelling with him – entering into his suffering, as he enters into ours.

Who’s behind this project?

ONE FRIDAY is managed by St John’s College, Durham, a university college and ministerial training institution with a long Christian tradition. Core funding has been provided by The Jerusalem Trust.

The idea for the project emerged from The Great North Passion, a BBC TV programme broadcast live on Good Friday 2014, in which community groups in South Shields responded to Stations of the Cross through art, drama and music.

The coordinator of ONE FRIDAY is Andrew Graystone.

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