The Way of the Cross 2018

The rain has been terrible this week and it was not unreasonable to suppose that it was going to be terrible during our Way of the Cross this year.  That was after all what the weather forecast predicted.  But frequent prayers over the past few days and this morning were kindly answered and it all held off.  So one of the major challenges to getting the Way of the Cross off the ground was averted…..but there is always another one…something that you don’t remember to cover….the Bin Men!

But even though I had forgotten to ask the Bin Men not arrive with apocalyptic disturbance in the middle of our annual pageant, Yvette, as our Parish Councillor, had kindly done so on our behalf and indeed the black wheelie bin did not arrive.  Unfortunately no-one told the garden waste bin men.  But they very considerately did the collection on foot…with a good natured enthusiasm which is beyond what we can reasonably expect from those amazing people who prevent us from sliding out of civilisation.  So thank you to Yvette and thank you to the wonderful operatives from Winchester City Council and their contractors.


I can never quite believe that it is all going to come together on the day.  Particularly when we are walking through the pageant on the Wednesday evening, at which only a quarter of the actors are able to attend!  The patience and resilience of our director Sonia cannot be underestimated!  Also being very relaxed when I suggested that if it was raining hard we might need to perform the whole event inside St Swithun’s for the first time.  ‘No problem’ was the answer.  I have so much respect for anyone who has the mental capacity to work out how any sort of dramatic production should be acted out, given that I find the choreography of a wedding (where you are only dealing with two people) almost impossibly difficult to organise.  Thank you Sonia for your amazing guidance of us and all the actors through the whole show particularly at the 9am start for the final rehearsal.

Every year it is a delight to work out who will be Jesus…I won’t say that I wake up in the night wondering about this question, but it is probably the first thing I think about as soon as Christmas is over.  Thank you Mike for taking on this role.  As the most recently arrived member of our church family (with your wife Bella and little Kezia) you asked the question ‘what can I do to help?’ at exactly the right time…With parade ground clarity I think everyone could hear exactly what you were saying.

It is always a special moment discussing with Will exactly how he is going to do himself in as Judas after betraying Jesus.  Thank you so much for carrying out this task again this year.  The authenticity was greatly appreciated, but just standing next to the noose was probably enough given the age of our audience…

Thank you to our disciples Maximilian, Richard, David, Ed, Quentin and George.  Seeing you round the table celebrating communion is always very moving for me.

Centurion and Roman Soldiers Will, Steve, Jonny, Nick O and Nick W and Daisy you were brilliant again this year – thank you so much.

Then the baddies: James as Pilate, Olivia as Pilate’s wife (not a baddy at all),

Iain as Caiaphas, Christopher and Dominic as Priests, Tony as Barabbas – you were all brilliant in your cameo character roles.

A strong sense of mockery and disdain from Iain as Caiaphas and Dominic and Christopher as the priests.  Brilliant.


The servants, Katherine and Naomi did their jobs effectively and clearly, thank you.  The women of Jerusalem Nora, Sarah and Jessica wept very convincingly.

Simon of Cyrene, Geoffrey always manages to look exactly the part even with only one prop – an Arab headdress.  WOTC15

Thank you also to Andrew Impey as Joseph of Arimathea with his own Omani Massar headdress looked in every sense the part.  And finally the two Marys, Lavinia and Brigid, perfectly dressed to accompany Jesus to the tomb.

Thank you to Liz for organising the hot cross buns and coffee and for her team: Sophie,Pauline, Emily, Naomi and Gilly.

Thank you also to our parish administrator Beccy (now also production assistant) and our narrator Gerry resplendent in red fez and our organist Isobel Pinder.

A particular thank you to Simon Ffennell who puts all the props together, organised the parking and keeps the whole show on the road.  An early start for you today Simon – thank you so much for the time you give to us.

And I think many of us in the audience of about 100 saw the passion story in a new light today, as we always do when it is played out before us.  I felt a sense of outrage which I have not felt before and of course many of us will have been hit, as Gerry was, with the supreme irony of the last words on the script: “this is the good news of Jesus Christ”.

Alex Pease





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