Diocese of Portsmouth

    Shoppers to see the Easter story

    26 March 2003

    The giant puppets that featured at the Diocesan Eucharist on Castle Fields last summer should make a reappearance

    SHOPPERS in Portsmouth city centre will hear the Easter story this year.

    Churches of all denominations are joining forces on Saturday 12 April for an open-air event designed to tell the story of Holy Week.

    Churches Together in Central Portsmouth has commissioned the city’s Top Cat Theatre Company to help them tell the stories of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday on that day. It should mark the return of the giant puppets used during the Diocesan Eucharist on Castle Field, Southsea, last July.

    The congregations involved will be invited to turn up in costume and process from Portsmouth’s Roman Catholic cathedral from 1pm, acting and singing as if they were the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem - the event normally celebrated on Palm Sunday.

    They will sing and wave flags and banners as they follow the giant puppet representing Jesus along Commercial Road and into the Cascades Shopping Centre. They will watch extracts from the stories of Good Friday and Easter Sunday as told by the theatre company.

    It will be the first time that this ecumenical group has tried to present the full Easter story in this way. In previous years members of the congregations have joined forces on Good Friday for a worship service on Commercial Road.

    The Rev Bob White, from St Mary’s Church, Fratton, said: “We thought it was important to tell people who don’t normally come to church what exactly it is that we celebrate on days like Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday - many of them may have no idea.

    “And, after inviting Top Cat Theatre Company to take part in the Good Friday service on Commercial Road last year, we realised that they could probably tell the story in drama better than we could in words.

    “We’re looking forward to turning up in blankets, sheets and other costumes that might at least give an idea of first century Palestine, and waving banners and flags to represent Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.”

    Anyone who would like to join in should turn up at Portsmouth’s RC Cathedral, Edinburgh Road, at 12.45pm on April 12.

    Among the other ecumenical Easter events planned around the diocese are a joint sunrise service on the shores of Langstone Harbour. All the churches in Copnor will gather for a simple service and breakfast from 5.45am-7am. Anyone who would like to come is invited to bring wood for the fire and their own breakfast.

    There will also be a joint sunrise service at Southsea Castle at 7am on Easter Sunday. Click