Discovery UMC's Holy Week STATIONS marries ancient tradition to modern imagination


Come With Me to the Dark Side . . .

By Rev. Paula Jones

Every time that Jesus brought up the idea that he would suffer and die, his disciples tried to talk about more pleasant things.  They refused to allow themselves to comprehend that suffering and death were part of the package.  Most even deserted him the time of his death.

We do the same thing.  We want to experience the peace and joy of Easter while avoiding the more difficult aspects of Good Friday.  But if we refuse to journey to the dark side with Jesus during Holy Week, how meaningful can his resurrection be?  If we want to experience the full impact of the empty tomb, we have to attend to the reality of his very real death.

For five years, Discovery UMC in Hoover has intentionally done just that by observing a Holy Week tradition that marries ancient tradition to modern imagination and talent. The result is a unique, self-guided tour through a group exhibit depicting the last 24 hours in the life of Jesus.

Using the traditional ‘Stations of the Cross,’ as a foundation, each year multiple local professional and amateur artists are invited to chose one station and interpret it artistically any way they desire.  Each year, new pieces are added.  Presently, each station is composed of five or more works of art plus additional hands-on activities.  The stations are imaginative, multi-sensory, and interactive. 

Over the years, word has spread in the community. Discovery now has a committed group of Catholics who attend each year because, as one said, “The Methodist Stations of the Cross is better than the Catholic one.”  In addition, two lay-people (1 Methodist and 1 Episcopalian) who have supervisory positions at their workplaces, invite their entire office to attend and then carry them to lunch.  One of those field trips resulted in a man writing an apology for his attitude to every person in his office.

As attendees exit STATIONS they are invited to leave written remarks. Those have included the following:

  • “A powerful reminder of the world’s most beautiful act of love.”
  • “God transforms me every time I journey through this.”
  • “I NEVER want to forget what I have tasted, seen, and felt tonight.”
  • “I understand it now. I finally understand it.”
  • “Words can’t explain how powerful this is.”
  • ”The most meaningful, inspiring, challenging experience of my life.”
  • “Painful, but I needed to be reminded.”

This year, STATIONS will be presented at Discovery United Methodist Church (5487 Stadium Trace Hoover, AL 35244) on

  • Wednesday, April 4, 4pm-8pm
  • Thursday, April 5, 9am-2pm and 4pm-8pm
  • Friday, April 6, 9am-2pm and 4pm-8pm


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