There were quite a few services and events planned for Easter this year. One of them was a community walk on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Day. Around 30 people from MUC and Doncaster Church of Christ gathered at the viewing platform behind MC2 in anticipation. We were in the shadow of the Doncaster Library and near the new council buildings. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that Lucas was excited about what he’d planned with Jim, Beverley and Ellen from the Church of Christ so it was bound to be worthwhile.
We started with some reflective music and a chance to think about what it meant to live in this community, and what the significance of Easter was for us. Lucas explained that Holy Saturday in the Church calendar is the ‘in between’ time when we remember the crucifixion has taken place, but the resurrection has not yet come. It is the perfect time to reflect on how we should live as Christians.
As we walked, we stood is the shadow of the old heritage listed shire offices, next to the heritage listed old school which have both been repurposed for other community activities. We also acknowledged that the Church of Christ is planning to build some tower blocks and a new auditorium to maximise the use of their space. As we heard about a viewing tower that was a popular tourist attraction in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century one of our group mentioned that they lived in an apartment block across the road and could take us up for a look. We eagerly agreed and soon were on the roof of this building looking at the city and trying to work out where the various sites of MUC were and enjoying a new perspective on Doncaster and Manningham. We were above all of the shadows.
From the heights we looked down on our next stop, the office of Federal MP Kevin Andrews. When we stood on the steps outside his office Lucas read a bible passage about the trial of Jesus and played some more thoughtful music. Lucas spoke about how Jesus interacted with the rulers of his day and we reflected on how we interact with those in powerful positions today.
Next we walked into Westfield Shoppingtown and Jim from the Church of Christ reflected on his connections to the local community, including in difficult times. He asked us to walk around the food court and shops while we reflected on what it meant for churches to engage with others. Someone later commented that is was strange to be in the shopping centre without planning to buy anything, and remembered a time when there was a Christian chaplain working in the centre who would engage with different people. He also remembered that there used to be different activities at Christmas and Easter when the combined churches would run some different activities there. Those activities are no longer, but it was good to see some churches doing something together again at Easter.
After some more walking through the centre, and some more reflection (including some handy people fixing a broken table) we headed out through the darkness of the underground car park onto our final station in the community garden. Beverley from the Church of Christ read a short passage and we discussed what we’d learned from our walk.
People appreciated the chance to be in a shopping centre at Easter but to take a different perspective. It was great to meet others, and there was a consensus that this should be a regular feature on the Easter calendar, including with other churches. There were thanks for the organisers and we all left with a warm feeling as we left the shadows of different buildings and into the bright shine, readying ourselves for Easter Day and all the hope that brings.