Games/Ideas

Stations of the Cross Prayer Stations

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Several years ago, a church in my hometown did a storytelling project for Lent. Several artists in the congregation collaborated on 14 different tattoo designs, one for each of the Stations of the Cross. Church members were invited to choose a station that resonated with them and have the design – or a modification of it – tattooed on their body. It was then photographed and put in a visual Stations of the Cross at the church during Holy Week. This idea fascinated me, so I went to the exhibition. It was set up like an art gallery, and each station had the Scripture, an explanation of the design, and anecdotes from some of the participants. Images of Christ’s final hours on Earth were inked onto the forearms of recovering addicts, the wrists of stay at home moms, calves of businessmen, and biceps of construction workers, and together they told a story of powerful love, redemption, and grace.

The Stations of the Cross is a historic tradition that originated from the Via Dolorosa, a procession in Old Jerusalem that is believed to be the path that Jesus took from Gethsemane to the tomb. Even today, priests take groups of pilgrims on the Via Dolorosa where there are images carved into the stonework of buildings marking significant moments of the crucifixion story. The Stations of the Cross made its way into churches around the world as a common way of participating in the suffering of Christ and as a way to reflect and contemplate the meaning of Good Friday.

Last year, my staff and I put together interactive prayer stations that correlate to the 14 stations acknowledged by the United Methodist Church (UMH pg 366). These stations are easy to set up using materials found in most Children’s Ministry closets and create little-to-no mess. We used black full-size flat sheets from Wal-Mart with strips of purple fabric and burlap on top of card tables and arranged them in a U-shape in our Fellowship Hall. The Scripture and instructions were placed at each station and people were encouraged to come through the Stations during office hours and evening programming. Feel free to adapt as necessary to meet the needs of your congregation.

PowerPoint Instructions and Scripture

Station 1: Jesus Prays Alone

  • Scraps of paper
  • Markers
  • A chalice

Station 2: Jesus is Arrested

  • Giant Post-It Notes or poster board
  • Markers

Station 3: Sanhedrin Tries Jesus

  • Play-Doh

Station 4: Pilate Tries Jesus

  • Several palm sized rocks
  • Several feathers

Station 5: Pilate Sentences Jesus

Station 6: Jesus Wears a Crown

  • A crown of thorns or a thorny branch

Station 7: Jesus Carries His Cross

  • 2 10-lb dumbbells

Station 8: Simon Carries the Cross

  • A tea or coffee setting for two
  • Pastry optional, definitely encouraged

Station 9: Jesus Speaks to the Women

  • Blindfolds
  • Strips of black fabric (for those who don’t want to share eye germs)

Station 10: Jesus is Crucified

  • Shallow bowl or large platter
  • Sand to fill bowl/platter

Station 11: Criminals Speak to Jesus

  • Pitcher
  • Water
  • Clean towels
  • Basket for wet towels

Station 12: Jesus Speaks to Mary and John

  • Pillow
  • Quilt or soft blanket

Station 13: Jesus Dies on the Cross

  • Paper or communion cups
  • White wine vinegar

Station 14: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

  • Linen strips
  • Myrrh essential oil

Audrua Welch Malvaez is a life long Methodist, veteran youth worker, and current Director of Adult Ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston in Middle School Education and is in the final stages of becoming a Certified Youth Worker in the United Methodist Church after 5 years of studies at Southern Methodist University. In addition to leading workshops for local youth groups, she also trains other youth workers in the concept of sex-positive youth ministry.

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