for the
Family Service
St. Augustine's

April 18 2004

These are notes and comments on some of the items which appear in the Family Service script. Links from the script point to these entries; clicking the links in the left hand column of the table takes you back to the corresponding link in the script  - or, where more than one link from the script points to the note, back to the first such link.

The comments are typically related to features of the service which are specific to our church or the time of the service, or which for some other reason we think might require alteration for another setting.

For references to the internal geography of the church, it might be helpful to inspect the plan.

Furniture :
  • Three chairs suitably draped to represent Herod's Palace, Pontius Pilate's quarters and the Jewish court.
  • Cross stand where the cross is to be erected.
  • Paschal candle somewhere at the front.
Props needed :
  • Palm branches to carry round the church - hand out to people as they come in;
  • Cross to carry round church ( initially at the front on the organ side ready for carrying ) and Cross stand at the front to stand it up in;
  • Recording of "Were you there when they crucified my Lord";
  • Cloth to put on the cross to represent Jesus;
  • Angel's costume, head-dresses for women weeping at the cross, costume for Jesus;
  • Dice for the soldiers to gamble with;
  • Cardboard signs "HE IS RISEN", and "HE IS RISEN INDEED !";
  • Candles/tapers for everyone to light.
  • Hand out "The Sheltered Life" and Bible Society Easter Pamphlet;
  • Collect the candles.

CHAIRS We used three chairs draped with impressive finery to represent three significant places in the story - Herod's Palace ( Herod's chair ), Pontius Pilate's quarters ( Pilate's chair ), and the Jewish court ( Caiaphas's chair ). They don't have to be chairs, but they do have to fit into the space available.

Later, the same chairs are used as a hiding place for "Jesus", from which he appears after the resurrection. This is purely for convenience; there's no particular connection between the "significant places" and the resurrection.

CROSS This should be a good sized cross, big enough for a crucifixion. Ours was made from rectangular plastic tube ( drainpipe ), covered with brown cloth; it was strong, but light enough to carry easily.
CROSS STAND Provision for standing the cross vertically at "Golgotha". Ours was a flat board on which was mounted a wooden "socket", into which the cross could be "plugged". It was draped with fabric for aesthetic reasons.
DIE ( or "DICE" ) It should be clear what the soldiers are doing. We used a large die about 30cms cube which is used by our children for games.
DRAPES CLOTH ... Not just anyhow. A loose roll of cloth in front of the cross with the ends hanging over and behind the arms of the cross is effective.
ENTER - from anywhere convenient, and suitable for a reasonable procession round the church, ending where the performance will take place.
HOW DID YOU COPE, LORD The poem is original.
JESUS HIDES ... - or something. Jesus speaks, but does not appear, from this position; any device which causes his voice to appear to come from somewhere near the cross will do. This is NOT the occasion on which Jesus hides behind the chairs - that comes later.
PALM BRANCHES We use cuttings from Phoenix palms, because they look fairly appropriate and we can get them. Use whatever seems best.
PALM PLANT In our church there is a potted palm as part of the ordinary furniture; in this service we used it to represent the garden of Gethsemane. Anything reasonably gardeny will do.
PASCHAL CANDLE It is our custom to follow the old tradition of burning a Paschal Candle during our services in the Easter season. If you don't, you can either get one, or rewrite some bits of the script.
RECORDING - because it includes the words, and guarantees a good volume and consistent speed. If you can sing it, that would be better, but remember that the congregation are invited to join the procession, so might not find it easy to join in the song.
SIGNS Cardboard signs saying "HE IS RISEN" and "HE IS RISEN INDEED !"; they should be big enough to be visible throughout the church when held up at the front.
SING HOSANNA The chorus of "Give me oil in my lamp".
SOLDIERS The soldiers could be used more if there are enough actors.
STONE Our stone was imaginary. It worked.
... WILL LEAD US ... Not essential, but it adds a little variety.
TOMB Choose a place reasonably visible but out of the way. Our tomb was behind the altar, on the Hospital side.