The Easter Way of the Cross walk around central Melbourne churches has been a major ecumenical event for nearly two decades but this year’s event had a special sense of accomplishment.
On Good Friday the walk had, for the first time, a full complement of Stations of the Cross, with St Michael’s Uniting Church on Collins St hosting newly installed sculpture of Christ being nailed to the cross.
“I am really delighted we have a common devotional walk that links the city churches together in faith and hope ,” St John’s Uniting Church minister Rev Peter Gador-Whyte said.
“St Michael’s church council has warmly endorsed the project as a way of deliberately connecting with the city and the other churches. I want to record my thanks to the Rev Ric Holland and the church council for their support.”
Mr Gador-Whyte first suggested the Easter event when he was a minister at Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street and convenor of the Melbourne City Churches in Action group.
He said the initial response had been: “It’s a great idea but it could never happen.”
However, the walk has been a huge success attracting approximately 2000 people of different denominations in recent years, including senior faith community representatives such as Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier last Friday.
A unique feature of Melbourne’s Way of the Cross is that the 14 stations are a series of bronze sculptures, designed by Anna Meszaros, that are set in the grounds of the 11 participating churches.
“The sculptures tell the story of Jesus’ way to the cross from the Last Supper to the tomb and on – then we cross the Yarra River on Sunday – to the sculpture of the resurrection,” Mr Gador-Whyte said.
Mr Gador-Whyte said the Way of the Cross could be explored at any time of the year.
“Even after nearly 20 years, this sculpture walk is one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets,” he said.
He invited anyone who wanted to get a church group together to explore the sculptures as a guided walk to contact him at St John’s Uniting Church in Essendon.