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‘I am the resurrection and the life’

Devonport’s sidewalk caf? set enjoying lattes and brilliant autumn weather on Good Friday were briefly interrupted by a procession marking the stations of cross on the road to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Each year on Good Friday the Combined Churches of Devonport and Belmont re-enact the Jesus' suffering, final hours, death, and resurrection. The procession begins at Windsor Reserve, near the Devonport Library, travels up the main street of the town, and climbs Mount Victoria.

This year nearly 300 people joined the procession, says Devonport Methodist Church presbyter Rev Robyn Allen Goudge. Robyn’s husband Geoff Allen took the role of Jesus in the procession and their sons Beren and Morgan played the part of Roman soldiers.

“Our theme this year was the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. The procession stopped at seven points where we focused on one of the ways Jesus defines himself in Johns Gospel: I am the bread; I am the vine; I am the light of the world; I am the gate; I am the good shepherd; I am the way, the truth, the life; and I am the resurrection and the life,” Robyn says.

Individuals from the procession helped Geoff carry the cross up the hill and at each stop a choir dressed in purple robes led the group in singing a verse from a hymn. Each verse touched on the theme of one of the ‘I am’ sayings.

From the peak of Mount Victoria, the view stretches out over Auckland Harbour toward Rangitoto Island. There the procession heard the reading John 20:1-22, which tells the story of the empty tomb. They sang the hymn How Great Thou Art, and held a closing prayer.

Robyn says it was beautiful day. The procession evokes a feeling of the crowd with children running in and out, and members of the public watching and responding to the events.

The Combined Churches of Devonport and Belmont includes the local Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Canaan Churches. Ministers from these congregations meet on a monthly basis.