Pittsworth Easter 2024: The eight movements of Jesus

9 April 2024

Pittsworth Easter 2024: The eight movements of Jesus Image

By Scott Guyatt, Synod Project Officer

Central Downs Uniting Church in Pittsworth has shared a special Easter experience with sister churches and the wider community. Transforming their church building with a bespoke art installation dubbed the “8 Movements of Jesus”, the congregation invited the Pittsworth community to travel with them through the Easter story, from Palm Sunday to the resurrection.

With eight different scenes installed throughout the church building, visitors were able to enter into the story in a way that words and images don’t always allow, an experience that captured the imagination and attention of the congregation and the wider Pittsworth community.

Rev Willie Liebenberg described the vision and execution of the exhibit as a gift. He shared a vision for the eight movements with local artist Janice Reed, inviting her to bring the Easter story to life to help people “experience Easter differently”.

Working in carved and recycled styrofoam and timber to shape captivating life-sized figures, Janice and her husband Fred crafted a deeply engaging presentation of the Easter story. Scenes from Palm Sunday, Jesus turning the tables in the Temple, the Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ arrest, the crucifixion and the empty tomb are brought to life and combined with Rev Liebenberg’s theological reflections.

The exhibit has been the backdrop to a week filled with new meaning, understanding, and relationships. Highlights included a packed church on Palm Sunday, on-site daily devotional gatherings exploring each movement, a shared Good Friday service with Harvest New Life Church, a Pittsworth combined churches service, and a steady stream of visitors to the church, which remained open each day.

“People just kept coming, people I’ve never met before,” Rev Liebenberg noted, “it’s been one of the nicest experiences of discipleship I can imagine.” He described people sitting or standing in the empty tomb or with the figure of Joseph of Arimathea, with tears in their eyes as they processed the experience. “It’s so real, so easily understandable for the first time,” one visitor said.

Janice Reed found the twin experiences of crafting the exhibit and witnessing visitors interact with it powerful: “Being there to see people encounter the exhibit is rewarding, seeing how they respond to it. This makes all the effort worthwhile.”

The community response was so strong that the Pittsworth congregation opted to keep the exhibit open for an extra week beyond the original 8-day schedule.

It’s been an experience that has combined vision with creativity, gifting the Central Downs Uniting Church with new relationships and new opportunities to proclaim the gospel and offering visitors to the exhibit a striking sense of connection to the Easter story and to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The experience went far beyond Rev Liebenberg’s hopes and expectations, prompting him to describe it as “a blessing and a privilege to see God at work.”

Rev Willie Liebenberg and Janice Reed supplied all the images in the gallery below. 

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