This Lent, Sunderland Minster is taking part in The Great North Passion, in partnership with TheCultural Spring and the BBC. A series of shipping containers, reminiscent of the shipping industry, have been sited in locations between the river Tyne and the river Wear. In each one, a local artist has been asked to work with the community to create a Station of the Cross.
Ours is the only container to be situated inside a building, and as such – unlike the other containers – is a specially constructed stage set. The Station we have been allocated is ‘Jesus meets his mother.’ It feels especially fitting in this place where life is celebrated; and also kept alive, before God, in the memory of those who have known the loss of a loved one. The medium we have been asked to work with is photography – again, so important to family memory.
Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday. As part of our worship, we have asked everyone to bring photos of their mothers, grandmothers, or any woman who has played a significant mothering role in their life. During the service, we will tell one another their/our stories, and then we will gather up our joy and sorrow in prayer.
After the service there will be the optional opportunity to have the photos copied and the copies – along with some of the stories that go with them – to be included in the artwork that will be created for our Station. Hopefully, some people will be willing to share their stories on camera.
All the Stations will be gathered together in one location, from where the BBC will be broadcasting this year’s Passion event on Good Friday.
I have a photo of my mother taken around Christmas 1943. She is in her baptism gown – a family heirloom my own children wore when they were baptised – and is with her parents – who I knew as my Granny and Grandpa – and her older brother, David – who died in a climbing accident aged 21 and so whom I never knew. It is a doorway into memories, both known and unfulfilled; and a window on the present.