North Alabama churches offer creative Holy Week celebrations




















For the third year in a row, The Church at Cahaba Bend
presents interactive prayer stations and a meditation
labyrinth during Holy Week.

Holy Week is a time each year when Christians reflect on the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

It is also a time when local churches reach out to their communities and welcome visitors who want to be part of Holy Week activities and Easter Sunday celebrations.

Some North Alabama United Methodist congregations are offering creative opportunities tied in to ancient celebrations of Holy Week as a way to open their doors to people in their communities.

Gigantic “Last Supper” planned by Aldersgate United Methodist

Almost everyone is familiar with the famous painting "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. But few people know that the painting is as big as a billboard and was painted on the dining hall wall of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. Visitors are awe-struck when they first view the massive size of the painting. The section of the Disciples and Christ at the table is nine feet by twenty-nine feet.

A screen is being built by Aldersgate United Methodist Church on Lakeshore Drive in Birmingham to display the true size of this great painting. The public is invited to view the work of art on Holy Thursday, April 1, in the sanctuary of the church at 7 p.m.

Carroll Andrews will present facts about the painting. He will also explain how Leonardo depicted the moment when Jesus announced one of the twelve disciples would betray him. All twelve disciples show different reactions to the news, with varying degrees of anger and shock. Each disciple will be described to the audience along with his history, his work, and his death. Dr. Burt Davis has written a brief book on the disciples which will be given free to each person who attends.

The event will feature music, narration and will come to life through the talents of many people.

Pastor John Mount invites the public to participate in this unique Holy Week event.

He says, “This is probably the first time a full scale presentation of the famous picture has been reproduced and shared as a teaching point of the Last Supper. Holy Communion will follow the forty-five minute presentation.”

Stations of the Cross

Discovery UMC in Hoover is offering a Stations of the Cross experience -- a self-guided, indoor walk through the last days of Jesus’ life on earth.

At Discovery UMC, the Stations of the Cross feature 14 stations which include many artistic works created by church members. The multi-sensory experience allows people to see, hear, taste, touch and even smell moments of Christ journey to His crucifixion. Each station allows time for meditation on a particular event during Jesus’ last week before his Crucifixion

Last year Interpreter magazine mentioned Discovery’s Holy Week tradition in the article Ancient traditions create Holy Week 'experience'

This year, Discovery will offer the experience from Wednesday March 31 through Good Friday April 2 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information visit

Stations of the Cross & Prayer Labyrinth

The Church at Cahaba Bend in Helena is also offering the Stations of the Cross made up of a series of 14 representations depicting the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The church offers meditations for each of the stations in the guide book visitors receive as they enter the church.

At the conclusion of the Stations experience, visitors are invited to walk a Prayer Labyrinth laid out in the center of the room.

The church website explains, “A labyrinth is a sacred path that represents both a pilgrimage and a path. A labyrinth is in a shape somewhere between a circle and a spiral. Often a labyrinth is confused with a maze. A maze is a problem to be solved and is mainly meant to trick and confound the traveler. Walking the labyrinth is a way of meditation and spiritual centering. The hope is that walking this way helps the traveler to become refreshed and renewed.”

The Church at Cahaba Bend’s Stations of the Cross and Prayer Labyrinth will be open Sunday, March 28 through Thursday, April 1, 2010 from 6-9 p.m. For more information visit

If you are a North Alabama United Methodist, Post a comment below to tell how your congregation is opening its doors this year during Holy Week to share the good news of Jesus Christ with your community. 


1. Emily Freeman Penfield wrote on 3/30/2010 3:17:01 PM
At Highlands we have 2 Good Friday services, one at noon and the other a Tenebrae service at 6:30. This year we are having our noon service outside using the stations of the cross. We will gather on the front lawn and move around the 5 corners at 5 Points South to read the passion story. We have drawings of each station and participants will take turns carrying a large cross.
2. Marti Slay wrote on 3/30/2010 6:31:59 PM
You are invited to join us for the annual Stations of the Cross in downtown Birmingham, this Friday. We begin at Church of the Reconciler at 11:00 a.m. Every year we gather to walk around our city, stopping at locations of significance to Birmingham's homeless community, as we commemorate the passage of Jesus, a homeless itinerant minister, on Good Friday. We remember Christ's commitment to the poor and reflect upon the importance of sharing love and hope with 'the least of these.' It's an experience that will make you appreciate the Easter news in new and meaningful ways this year. We suggest you wear a hat, and bring sunscreen and bottled water. The entire walk takes about two hours.
3. Rev Jimmy D Hall wrote on 4/5/2010 9:15:39 AM
It was a thrilling Holy Week at our two small churches, Union and Daniel's Chapel. We combined the two congregations and had a Maunday Thursday Service and a Seder Meal. Neither of these churches had ever had a service like that and it was enthusiastically received. Some who had never tasted lamb said how much they enjoyed the meal. Holy Week culminated Easter Sunday with the baptism of two adults and one child at Union. God is blessing these two churches in a marvelous way!
4. Tayna Rains wrote on 4/6/2010 11:13:42 AM
Holy Week was truly wonderful on Sand Mountain. We were able to coordinate six services, beginning on Palm Sunday running through Good Friday. Each service was held at a different church. Attendance was good at these services, even the ones held on atypcial worship days. The challenge had been made that each person should attempt to spend as much time in worship during the week, as they usually spend in other activities during the week (ballgames, scouts, meeting,etc.) Palm Sunday was hosted by Dutton UMC, and was a children's musical, "The Tale of Three Trees." Monday was hosted by Section UMC, featuring a sermon on "Tipping the Tables." Tuesday was hosted by Geraldine UMC and was an interactive service of "Cross and Nails." Wednesday was hosted by Robertson Chapel UMC and was a Seder Meal. Thursday was hosted by Henagar UMC as a celebration of Maundy Thursday. Friday was hosted by Trinity UMC and honored Good Friday with a "Shadows of the Cross" service. WOW! What a week of holy celebration! Wish everyone could have been on Sand Mountain for Holy Week and felt the Spirit.