PUBLISHED: 15:47 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:35 23 August 2010
SHOPPERS and visitors will get a stark reminder of the true meaning of Easter as the annual re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ is held. The final moments of Jesus life will be played out in Gravesend town centre complete with Roman soldiers, the
SHOPPERS and visitors will get a stark reminder of the true meaning of Easter as the annual re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ is held.
The final moments of Jesus' life will be played out in Gravesend town centre complete with Roman soldiers, the judgement of Pontius Pilot, and the torturous dragging of the cross on the road to Calvary.
Launched in 2003, the annual tradition has steadily gathered momentum and the organisers, Churches Together are hoping to exceed the 1,000 spectators last year.
Martin Harris, of Gravesend Methodist Church is directing the performance.
He said: "It had its problems early on but we have improved it and made it bigger and better.
"This has become a traditional event that we hope to continue to run."
"It is important to remind people on the significance of Easter and how they can relate it to today, not just as an important Christian or historical moment but as an ongoing thing."
Beginning at 10.45am on Good Friday, April 2, Jesus, played by Mark Cluett a former member of the Methodist church, will carry the cross, accompanied by the soldiers, from St George's Church onto Bath Street and up New Road.
A service including the re-enactment of the reprieve of the murderer Barabas and hymns performed by the churches and Salvation Army will follow, before Mr Cluett is placed on the cross.
Mr Harris, who played Christ for the first five years, added: "It is painful. You are up there for half an hour and you get cramps in your arms and across your chest. It is certainly not easy."
Visiting minister Stuart Davison from the South East Baptist Association, will deliver the service and soloist Claire Frewin will lead the choir.
He said: ""Over the years I have been approached by a number of people who have said they never realised what actually happened and how much it had meant to them. Society has become so wrapped up in people only thinking about themselves it finds it difficult to understand that someone died for them so that they may receive that opportunity to come aware of God's grace."