Parapet caps

One by one, workers are installing the parapet caps on the Chapel’s east wall.  The caps are lead-coated copper and will keep rain water out of the walls from this day forward.

The top half of the tower scaffolding will come down Monday.  There may be some temporary frame scaffold across the north façade to finish up the wall facing Franklin Street.  While the scaffold company is at work, the crew will work on stripping the east west walls.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been HOT.  The workers start the days early and keep well hydrated.  When the weather turns in the fall, we should  have a completely restored Chapel exterior.

While you are away: during the summer months, expenses continue, even though many of you are away.  Please keep your pledge current via online giving while you are away!

Walker Mabe

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Vestry Actions

At its meeting on June 18, the Vestry:

  • Adopted the Vestry Bylaws, as proposed and amended;
  • Approved Kirsten Sherk as Chair of the Outreach Ministry Committee;
  • Approved Matt Pohlman as a member of the Outreach Ministry Committee.

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Rector Transition

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to report that the Vestry has elected Dick Taylor to chair the search committee for a new Rector.  As you know, Dick is a recent Senior Warden, very active with the church at the Diocesan level, and is well known and respected by all.  I am delighted that he has agreed to serve in this critical leadership role.

The next step in the transition process will be on Sunday, June 14, when the Rev. Michael Hunn, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of North Carolina, will preach at our 10:00 am service.  After the service there will be an informational meeting with Canon Hunn for the entire congregation in the Great Hall.  Child care will be provided.  As I indicated to you in my earlier message, the Vestry was really impressed by Canon Hunn’s professionalism and experience in facilitating more than ninety searches for Rectors in this Diocese in the last decade.   He will give those present an overview of the entire transition process, including:

  • the selection of an Interim Rector
  • how the congregation can provide direct input into the Parish Profile that will describe us to those who may consider a call to our parish
  • the search process for a new Rector

So, come with all your questions.

For the remaining Sundays of June, July and August, we will plan for different members of the Vestry to be available in the parlor or the Great Hall following the 10 am service to answer questions and to hear any suggestions or comments from members of the parish.

Late this summer or in early fall, Dick and I will issue a call for applications for the Rector Search Committee.  Please be thinking now about whether you wish to serve on this committee.  It will be very time intensive in the spring and summer of 2016.  When we issue the call, we will ask you to write a brief paragraph about why you would like to serve and the perspective(s) you would bring to the committee.

Once this application period of about three weeks is over, Dick Taylor and I will put together a proposed search committee slate and take it to the Vestry for approval.  Once the Vestry approves this committee, the search will be in its hands, working with the Canon to the Ordinary and the Bishop.

Our hope is that the entire process of transition for the Chapel of the Cross will be a process of prayerful discernment — our discernment of who we are as people and parish; the discernment of God’s call to the right person to lead us through this transition as our Interim Rector; and ultimately the discernment of that call to our next Rector.

James Moeser

Senior Warden

Click here for a link to the most recent information on our celebration of Stephen Elkins-Williams, the selection of an interim Rector, and the new Rector search process. For more transition information, check the kiosk in the Great Hall!

 

Celebration Calendar

You will want to be part of the parishwide events we are planning for the summer and fall:

  • June 28 — Dinner on the Grounds following the 10 am service — bring a side dish to share; fried chicken and tea provided
  • July 19 — Dinner on the Grounds with the Royal School of Church Music
  • August 23 — Dinner on the Grounds in conjunction with our annual Outreach and Engagement Fair
  • August 30 — Clergy and staff speak about Stephen Elkins Williams — pot luck supper after the 5:15 service
  • September 13 — Church School Kick-off and skit
  • September 27 — Parish BBQ with music from the Pentecost Pickers and farewell presentations to the Rector
  • October 4 — Blessing of the Animals at 9 am followed by cake; special music at 11:15 am; preaching at both services by Stephen Elkins-Williams
  • October 11 — One combined service at 10 am with special music; Stephen Elkins-Williams to preach and celebrate; farewell reception in the Great Hall following

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The Search for a New Rector for the Chapel of the Cross

The new Vestry met last Thursday night with the Rev. Canon Michael Hunn, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of North Carolina, and Catherine Massey, Deputy Transition Officer for the Diocese.  The purpose of this two-hour meeting was to learn about the search process for a new Rector and the more immediate search for an Interim Rector.  At the beginning of the meeting, I asked each member of the Vestry to put on the table every question they had heard from members of the congregation.   By the end of the meeting, Canon Hunn and Ms. Massey had answered all of our questions and given us a great deal of information.

In addition to information, they also gave us confidence that we are not alone in this. I think we were all impressed by the professionalism that they bring to this process, having assisted over 90 parishes across the diocese in rector searches in the last nine years.  In former times, we might have been faced with having to retain the professional services of a search firm with attendant fees.  Now this service is provided to us by the Diocese, at no additional cost.   As I said to them after the meeting, we know that we are in God’s hands, but it is good to know that God has real professionals on the ground to help us.

I think the single most important message I can relay to the congregation from this meeting is how different this entire process is from an academic or corporate search.  This is a Spiritual Process, not a hiring process.  We seek God’s will for our congregation.  We are not hiring an employee, but calling a Priest, Pastor, and Spiritual Leader.

So what were the questions that the Vestry asked on your behalf?  (I shall try to organize these questions in a logical sequence rather than in the random order in which they were asked, and I shall add questions that weren’t asked but which were addressed in discussion.)

A. What are the next steps in the process?
B. Why do we need an Interim Rector?
C. How long should the Interim Rector serve?
D. How is the Interim selected? 
E. When does the actual search for a new Rector officially begin?
F. How is the Search Committee selected?
G. How confidential is the search itself?
H. What is the role of the Bishop in the selection of a new Rector?
I. Does the congregation have any role in the selection process?
J. Does the Interim Rector have any role in the search process?
K. Will Canon Hunn meet with the congregation to discuss the process?
L. How is compensation for both the Interim Rector and the new Rector determined?
M. The Chapel of the Cross has just built new buildings and incurred major debt in financing
this new construction.  How does this impact the search?
N. During the period of interim leadership, who will name the next Senior Warden?  Who is the
canonical authority for the parish?
O. It is good that we are taking time as a congregation to celebrate the 30-year tenure of our
Rector,
but are we neglecting doing the serious work of preparing for the coming transition?

P. What happens to our associate priests whom we love and care about?

Below, I shall try to summarize the discussion in terms of answers to the above questions.

A.      Next Steps 
Below is a summary of the entire process, which Canon Hunn gave the Vestry.  We are essentially at stage 3 in a 19-step process.  For those of you who served on a search committee thirty years ago or who have served on committees in other parishes, you will note a number of changes in process, not the least of which is the assistance provided by the Diocese and the national church.

1.    Rector announces departure
2.    Vestry meets with Canon to the Ordinary and receives Vestry search packets
3.    With advice from the Bishop, Vestry selects search style.

(The Vestry has decided to empanel a Search Committee of 6 to 10 persons; the advice from Canon Hunn is that at least 3 members of the Vestry be on the Search Committee including someone in their last term on the Vestry (for history), and someone new to the Vestry to be with the new Rector for the next two years).  More about the Search Committee later.)

B.     Why do we need an Interim Rector?
Many of you have asked this question.  The Vestry is convinced that interim leadership is required in order to give the parish sufficient time to do the hard work to prepare for a search of this magnitude.  It is increasingly common in the Episcopal Church to have an interim, especially when replacing a long-serving Rector.  We need a period of transition to help the congregation envision a new future, vision and direction.  During this period, the Vestry will appoint a Transition Committee, which will be charged with preparing an Episcopal Church Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) Portfolio to be approved by the Vestry.

Early in the interim period (mid-October through Advent) we will hold a series of congregational meetings, facilitated by Canon Hunn, in which we will discern who we are as a parish, exploring our history and heritage and any issues of concern that need to be resolved in order to move freely into the future.  At least one of these meetings would be in the evening.  These congregational discussions will feed material to the construction of the COTC portfolio on the OTM website, which will be seen and read by any and all persons who might consider being a candidate for our position.  (The OTM has been described as the national church’s dating service for clergy and parishes.  This is where the internet has totally transformed the search process.)

This is the point in the process where the entire parish has an active role.  We need to describe ourselves and our vision for the future.  How well we do this will have a lot to do with who hears a call to be our next Rector.

C.    How long should the Interim Rector serve?
D.    How is the Interim Rector selected?
The Interim Rector will be our spiritual leader during this period.  He or she may not be a candidate to be our Rector nor have any role in the search process.  The Vestry serves as the search committee for the Interim.  This summer the Diocese will provide to the Vestry a short list of priests who have served successfully in interim capacities.   The Vestry will interview two or more candidates, who will come to Chapel Hill, preach a sermon, and celebrate the Eucharist with the Vestry, after which the Vestry will make a selection.  We anticipate that the Interim Rector will begin in October and serve for approximately a year or until a new Rector is selected.

E.     When does the actual search for a new Rector officially begin?
Drawing from the congregational meetings in the fall of 2015 and the OTM portfolio, the Vestry will approve a position description for the new Rector.  The most important step for the Vestry to this point will be the approval of the Rector Search Committee.

The active hiring season for priests in the Episcopal Church is in the spring months of March, April, and May.  Assuming it takes most of the fall through Advent to complete the OTM portfolio, the Search Committee would not begin to receive applications until early in the new year, with an application deadline around Easter.   I think the Search Committee will most likely be interviewing candidates and their spouses in Chapel Hill in late spring and/or early summer, with the goal of making a call by June or July.   There will be a significant time commitment for members of this committee, however quite different from searches in the past where committee members travelled to other churches in small teams to interview candidates and see and hear them on their own turf.  The internet has turned this process upside down.  More about this below.

F.     How is the Search Committee Selected?
My next task is to choose a Search Committee chair and to take that name to the Vestry for approval.  I anticipate doing that very shortly.  Sometime in the fall, I will issue a call to all members of the congregation asking for expressions of interest in serving on the Search Committee.  The Search Committee chair and I will prepare a proposed slate of members for this committee for Vestry approval, no later than the October Vestry meeting.   Canon Hunn recommends that we empanel a committee of six to ten persons, including three members of the Vestry, with one person in their last Vestry term and one person in their first term.   He has given us some good advice about the kind of people we should have on the Search Committee.

G.     How confidential is the search itself?
Our search will be both transparent and confidential.  For transparency, both the Vestry and the Search Committee will make regular reports to the congregation on the status of the search with the exception of two matters that will be held in strictest confidence:  the names of the persons under consideration (or those not under consideration), in other words, no names;  and second, the demographics of the search.  We will not release the numbers of candidates or the numbers of people by category (race, gender, or any other defining characteristic.)

H.     What is the role of the Bishop (and the Diocese) in the search process?
Canon Hunn made it clear that the choice of our new Rector lies with the Search Committee and the Vestry, with the approval of the Bishop.  Initially, the Search Committee will get the names of all individuals who apply for the position.  He said that in this age of the internet, with potential candidates able to educate themselves on the community and the parish, there is a greater degree of self-elimination today than in prior years, resulting in smaller but higher quality applicant pools.  The Search Committee will reduce the initial number to about 12 semi-finalist candidates.  At this point, OTM will conduct a “pre-flight check” by contacting each candidate’s Bishop and Canon to the Ordinary.  Meanwhile, the Search Committee will also be doing reference checks on these candidates.  The candidates on this “semi-short” list would be invited to come to Chapel Hill with spouses for meetings with the Search Committee, a tour of the community and our facilities, and an opportunity to preach and celebrate the Eucharist with the Search Committee.  (These visits would be for the Search Committee only, and they replace the former practice of  travel by panels of the Search Committee to the home sites of candidates.)

Once the list has been reduced to three candidates, a second and more intense background check will take place.  At this point, the Diocese uses Secure Search to complete a thorough background check.  Bishop Curry will interview any candidates from outside our Diocese and approve a final list of three for the Search Committee.

The final stage of the process for the Search Committee will be to meet with the entire Vestry in a joint meeting, to summarize the process, and to recommend one candidate to the Vestry.  The Vestry will have the opportunity to spend two days of interviews with the candidate before approving that candidate for the position.  (The Vestry could, of course, reject the candidate and ask for another.)

I.     What is the role of the congregation in the search process?
The major role of the congregation is active participation in the congregational meetings in the fall of 2015, as we seek to define who we are as a parish for those whom God may call to be our Rector.  We should all pray for potential candidates, for the Search Committee, the Vestry, and the Bishop, that God’s will is done in this search.

J.     Does the Interim Rector have any role in the search process?
No.  The Interim Rector’s  role is to be a shepherd to this flock for the transition period.

K.     Will Canon Hunn meet with the congregation to discuss the process?
Yes.  He will facilitate the congregational meetings in October and November, 2015.  Canon Hunn will preach at the 10:00 service on Sunday, June 14, and discuss the entire search process at a special adult forum following that service.  That will be the first opportunity for members of the congregation to ask questions directly to him about the search for a new Rector or about the interim transition.

L.     How is compensation for the Interim and new Rector determined?Here is where the church is very different from academe or the corporate world.  This is what we learned from Canon Hunn.  First, we should set the salary for the Interim Rector at the level of what we expect to compensate our new Rector.  The salary should be an absolute number, not a range.  Clergy who are thinking about our position will see what we are paying the Interim, and they will understand that is the salary.  There is no negotiation at the end stage, as there is in most other situations.  It is what it is.  Therefore, I have asked Heather Benjamin, the chair of the Personnel Committee, to make a recommendation to the Finance Committee and the Vestry with regard to compensation and budget for the 2016 budget.  If nothing else tells us that this is upon us, this does.

M.     Does our construction debt load deter good candidates?
Some concern was expressed that some candidates might see our construction debt as a deterring factor, that they would see development and stewardship as a major part of their responsibility as Rector.  Others countered that the new buildings themselves bring tremendous excitement to this parish, opening up amazing new possibilities for ministry and outreach.  My own personal opinion is that the positives greatly outweigh the negatives here.  I don’t think there is a parish priest in this country who doesn’t realize that stewardship is part of his or her call.

N.     During the interim, who is the canonical authority?  Who will name the next Senior Warden?  
The Interim Rector is the canonical authority and would appoint the next Senior Warden.

O.    It is good that we are taking time as a congregation to celebrate the 30-year tenure of our Rector, but are we neglecting doing the serious work of preparing for the coming transition?  
No, the celebration period is a critical part of the transition.  It is the first stage of taking stock of our tradition and heritage.  It is important that we celebrate Stephen’s thirty-year pastoral ministry, not only because he deserves it, but because a future Rector will look to see how we treated our current Rector.  We must remember that this is a time of separation for Stephen and Betsy from us as well as for us from them.  As in all separations, there is sadness as well as joy.  We have a pastoral responsibility to our pastor in this situation.

We are called to love one another.  That is what the Gospel tells us to do.  That is who we are as a people.

P.     What happens to our associate priests, whom we love and care about?
This is also a difficult time for Vicky, Tammy, and David.  The good news is that they will continue in their roles with the Interim Rector.  It is not true, as some have feared, that they must turn in their resignations on the new Rector’s first day.  It is, of course, true that the Rector has absolute authority to determine his or her staff, and I have encouraged all of our clergy to be in prayerful discernment and conversation with Canon Hunn about what God is calling each of them to do in their respective ministries.  Here, I believe that we must all have faith that God is working his purpose out in their lives as well as ours.

I apologize for the length of this message, but I have attempted to answer every question I have heard from members of the church on this important topic.  If I haven’t answered your specific question, rest assured there will be ample opportunity in the future to answer your questions.

Soli Deo Gloria.
James Moeser, Senior Warden

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The brick is back

The first round of stripper has been applied and removed and indications are good that the majority of the old paint is coming off relatively easily.

The stripper is a natural, hydrogen peroxide-based paste — with a consistency sort of like Crisco.  The workers smear it on, cover it with plastic, and let it dwell for a couple of days.  The stripper comes off with water and a scrub brush, bringing the old paint with it.

You can clearly see the brick at the top of the tower. A very old coating of lime wash has virtually soaked into the soft old brick, leaving an excellent surface for the application of a new wash coating.  There will be spots where we have to go back and re-clean to remove paint, but it looks like it will not be necessary to do much, if any, micro-abrasion.

While some of the workers have been at work on the tower, others have been removing the bad tar patch job along the south wall of the roof, abutting the parish house.  They uncovered a place where the mortar had completely dissolved and the brick had broken, disintegrated, or just fallen away.  That area has now been re-mortared and rebuilt.

Next week the workers will fall into a quicker rhythm, removing paint on the rest of the tower.   They will also clear areas on the east and west sides of the chapel where color samples will be applied. We hope to order the new wash for the chapel by the end of the month.

The folks from Waters found some old brick in Durham that matches ours in age, color — and even more important — in compressive strength.  We won’t have to replace very much, but when we do, we have the perfect match.

Walker Mabe

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A bird’s eye view

The workers have completed the scaffolding and provided a protected way through the front door into the chapel.

More importantly, they have built a safe and sturdy structure around the tower that will be with us through most of May.  The crew from Waters Craftsmen immediately began demolition of the tower roof.   They will replace the old, leaky roof and poorly patched flashing with a new copper roof. Then damaged areas of the brick parapets will be repaired, followed by lead cladding and flashing.  Once the tower is done, workers will move to the north (Franklin Street) façade.

We wish we had a bird’s eye view of the work — all we can see now are the brightly colored hard hats of the workers moving around on the tower roof.  In the past, we have had to use a special — and expensive — lift to inspect and maintain the tower.  Waters is adding a secure hatch that can be used to check out the roof and parapets as part of regular facilities management.  The hatch will not be readily accessible to the casual parishioner or student!

The chapel will welcome worshippers through the days of Holy Week and Easter and on into Pentecost.  We do not foresee any interruption in its use as a place of quiet prayer and joyful celebration.  Starting Monday evening, the UNC students who organize the annual 24/7 week of prayer will use the chapel for the evening portions of their event.  We are leaving the light over the front door in place until the week of prayer is concluded; afterwards, we will take it down for safekeeping.

Very careful and thoughtful work is underway to select the new wash color.  Samples will be painted on both the east and west sides of the chapel in order to see them in all lights.  Much more on this later.

– Walker Mabe

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Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are on display in the Great Hall throughout Holy Week.

11. Jesus is condemned to Death.
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pontius Pilate. They all condemned him and said, “He deserves to die.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement. He took some water and washed his hands, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then he handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but he sent him to be killed anyway. He tried to make himself feel better by washing his hands and saying that he was innocent.

Think about whether you would be brave enough to speak up for Jesus. Or, would you join the people who testified falsely against Him? Would you be too afraid to speak?

The poster for the first station was made by the Middle School class to represent Mark 15: 6-15

Now at the festival [Pontius Pilate] used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then [Pilate] answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

022.  Jesus Takes Up the Cross

Jesus went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called Golgotha (pronounced: GAHLguh- thuh).   The soldiers made fun of Jesus by wrapping him in a purple cloak and putting a crown made of thorns on his head. They spit on him and called him “King of the Jews!”  Through it all, Jesus was silent. He took up the cross and carried it.

The “crown of thorns”  was made by children in 2014.

033. Jesus Falls for the First Time

Jesus, even though he was in the form of God, did not think that being equal to God was the most important thing.  Instead he emptied himself, took the form of a servant, and was born as a human.  And in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.   For that reason, God has highly exalted him, and has given him the name which is above every name.

Sometimes, we feel very weak, or very sad, just as Jesus did after carrying the cross for such a long way. Others times, we feel confused or unsure.  Jesus understands our needs.

Imagine you are walking down Franklin Street on a difficult day.  You are reading the posters tacked to telephone poles and see this.

044. Jesus Meets his Mother

To what can I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem?

What image can I use to comfort you, O Mary?

For vast as the sea is your ruin. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

 The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall end.

There are times when we feel as sad as we have ever been. Sometimes, we do not even know what is causing us to feel so sad. But Mary knew why she was sad. It is so hard for a mother to watch her child suffer. It is even harder when she knows that her child has done nothing wrong. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt, watching Jesus – Love itself – on this final journey?

The pebbles in this bottle represent tears. If you are mourning or worried or feeling sad, you can add a tear, along with a quiet prayer. Remember that the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall end.

055. The Cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene

As they led Jesus away, they came upon a man of Cyrene, named Simon. They laid the cross on him to carry it behind Jesus. It reminds us of something Jesus had already told his friends. “If anyone would be my follower, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Share my burden with me. You learn from me how to carry a load, and with me the way is easy and the load is light.”

There are a lot of people who are in need, who are lonely or sad or hungry. As Christians, we are called to support those in need. Like Simon of Cyrene, we help carry a heavy load and share a burden.

066. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Jesus was despised and rejected by men; He was a man of sorrow who knew grief. People would not look at him, but hid their faces.  Veronica, however, wiped Jesus’ face to comfort him. Her actions told him of her love.

The Fourth and Fifth grade class created this prayer station. Write a prayer on the cloth. Let the cloth remind you of Veronica and the kindness and comfort she showed. Place the prayer on the cross, as Veronica placed the cloth on Jesus’ face.

On Easter, these private prayers will be replaced with flowers of hope and joy.

077. Jesus Falls a Second Time

Have you ever been very, very thirsty? Jesus was given no water as he walked on the road towards Golgotha. He was thirsty and tired and he fell for a second time.

Imagine you are on a walk – a long, dry, dusty walk. You are tired and thirsty, and you are so weak that you fall.  Run your fingers through the sand. Know that Jesus understands your fatigue and pain.

088. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Many people followed behind Jesus, and among them were women who cried and screamed for him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

Jesus told the women not to worry about him, but to take care of others, especially the children.

099. Jesus Falls for a Third Time

Did you know that Jesus may have been born in a cave and not a stable? The land around Bethlehem was hilly and rocky and had many caves.

Much later in his life – the night before he died, in fact – Jesus went to a garden to pray. Peter, James, and John were with him for company, but they kept falling asleep. Jesus was alone and afraid and very, very sad. Perhaps he leaned against one of the rocks in the garden. Perhaps he knelt down by the rock, or rested his arms on it. Perhaps he laid his head on the rock, and his tears washed over it.

Jesus prayed to God that his burden could be lifted, that ‘the cup could be removed’ from him. But the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Jesus and they took him before the chief priest and elders. He was condemned to death and he walked, barefoot, carrying his cross over stony streets.

The path Jesus walked was rocky. And he fell three times.

What rocky paths have you walked? What hard times have caused your tears? This station was created by middle school students to assure us that we all experience hard and rocky time.

1010. Jesus is Stripped of his Clothes 

When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with a bitter and poisonous herb called gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. They divided his garments among themselves by rolling dice for them. This fulfilled the scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.”

The dice were made in 2012 to represent the tenth station.

1111. Jesus is nailed to the Cross

When they came to the place which is called The Skull, they crucified him; and with him they crucified two criminals, one on the right, the other on the left, and Jesus between them. The scripture was fulfilled which says, “He was numbered with the evildoers.”

This cross was created by the middle school church school class. They have left their finger prints on it to remind us that we are all part of this sad story.

1212. Jesus dies on the Cross

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “He will be your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “She will be your mother!” Then he said, “It is finished!” And crying with a loud voice, he said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” He bowed his head, and handed over his spirit and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the very last thing that Jesus said was “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Those words are from Psalm 22:1 and might be confusing if you don’t know the whole psalm.

1313. The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother.

Mary says, “All who pass me, behold and see if there is any sorrow as bad as my sorrow. My eyes are exhausted with weeping; my soul is confused; my heart is poured out in grief. Do not call me Naomi (which means Pleasant), call me Mara (which means Bitter); for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

This moment, sometimes called The Lamentation, has often been depicted in great works of art. One of the most famous is the Pieta by Michelangelo, which is in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. The sculpture is made of marble and it is the only piece of his art that Michelangelo ever signed.

Feel a piece of smooth marble and imagine how Michelangelo felt, a chisel in his hand, as he worked for two years to create is beautiful but sad masterpiece. Listen to the music as you feel the marble. It is Gioachino Rossini’s Stabat Mater, which is a hymn to Mary in her sorrow.

1414. Jesus is laid in the tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea (pronounced ehr-uh-muh-THEE-uh), named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb.

The stations end here, with Jesus laid in the tomb. It is a hard ending, as hard as the stone of the tomb. But we know that it is not the end of the story. We know that Easter is coming and we know that the great mystery of Easter is how Jesus came alive again and is with us in all times and all places…

This station reminds us that the story is not over, that the best part is still to come.

The first grade class used Legos to build the cave that served as Jesus’ tomb. When we teach our children the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, we also teach a story of Love and Hope.

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