The Big Serve at Lisburn Cathedral is a yearly event now –this was the 3rd Big Serve to take place and it was absolutely FANTASTIC!
There were are so many things going on, including serving on the streets, giving out free gifts, visiting people who live in the local estate –giving away plants and planting up communal areas, putting on pamper mornings and children’s clubs, doing a wall mural and just generally being there for anyone who needed a bit of a hand.
Lisburn Cathedral works closely and in co-operation with Lisburn Council and there is now a great working relationship between the two. The council also puts on community events around the Easter period and it makes sense to work together and compliment one another’s efforts rather than each doing their own thing.
As part of this year’s big serve the team from Lisburn Cathedral took the theme of Superheroes and hosted a creative, interactive exhibition in the Cathedral itself. The exhibition ran from Wednesday to Saturday during Holy Week. The inside of the building was totally transformed into “Superhero World” which was a huge draw for families with young children who were keen to see their favourite Superhero.
The idea behind the theme was not only to entertain and provide a high quality event for everyone in the town to enjoy though this was part of the aim. The idea was to tell the story of Jesus’ life death and resurrection in an accessible way and in a way that would leave a lasting impression on the lives of families in the community. Each person got a Superhero World comic which told the story behind each of the stations. Kids also got a free goodie bag which they could store all their crafts in as they went around. Adults were encouraged to read the comic with their children at home.
There were 10 stations around the inner cathedral space with activities at each one. Through the activity and the explanation a part of the story of Jesus was told at each station in superhero style. Each station was manned with helpers who could explain everything and tell that particular part of the story. To give you a better idea here’s how it went:
Station 1- Every Superhero has an origin
What is our hero’s origin? A large Jesse tree was displayed to show the family of Jesus. Children were invited to make their own family tree.
Do you know that Jesus had lots of names and they all say something about him? The names of Jesus were displayed in Superhero style. Children were invited to make a badge with their own name and find out what it means in a book of names and meanings.
What was Superman’s, Batman’s, Spiderman’s mission? Do you know why Jesus came? What was his mission? God loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to show us the way like a torch guiding us through the dark and to save us from our sins. At this station, a large gazebo was erected and covered in black material to create a dark space. Children were invited to make tea-light crafts to show Jesus is the light and to get a secret message stamped on their arm with UV ink. They had to shine the UV torch to see the message. It said Jesus is our Saviour.
What powers do your favourite Superheroes have? Jesus was the greatest superhero of all –he turned water into wine, could calm the seas, make the blind see, raise the dead. Children were invited to sit on beanbags and watch a short video about Superheroes and their powers compared with Jesus power.
Talk about some sidekicks that superheroes have –like Batman and Robin. Jesus decided to get some helpers. Tell the story of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew, James and John. Children are invited to “fish” for disciples in a paddling pool. They have to find the fish that have the disciples’ names on them.
The Garden of Gethsemane. This was a beautiful garden display with 3 reflective prayer activities – suitable for adults but accompanied children also were also welcome to visit.
Station 7 Every Superhero has Enemies
Can you identify the villains in the rogues gallery? Who is the villain that Jesus had to face? How do villains attack Superheroes? How did the devil attack Jesus? How does he attack us? Children are invited to knock down skittles with pictures of villains on them. Under the skittles are emojis showing anger, jealously, greed, sadness, loneliness, sickness – does the devil try to attack you through some of these?
Station 8 – Our Hero is Defeated
Anna and Elsa image (Frozen) – Why is this scene sad? It looks like Anna has died. What happened to Jesus on Good Friday? He was crucified and died and them was put in a tomb. Even his sidekicks abandoned him. It seemed like it was all over and he had been defeated. Children are invited to put a white fingerprint on a large black cross.
Station 9 – The comeback King
This station displays a large tomb with a question mark hanging over it. Inside are some folded grave clothes. What happened to Jesus? Where has his body gone? Who took him? Children are invited to solve riddles written around the tomb and especially the biggest riddle of all – about Jesus. Answer: Jesus rose from the dead and he is alive today. He sent his Holy Spirit to be with us so we wouldn’t be on our own.
You can be a superhero too. You can change the world like Jesus did, heal the sick, befriend the lonely, help the poor, love others. Jesus said that with my Holy Spirit working inside you, you will have the power to do even greater things than these. Children are invited to make superhero masks, dress up in superhero costumes and draw themselves to add to the Superhero gallery.
Click on the link below to see photos of the exhibition
Saturday was the “big finale” when real live Superheroes came to pay a visit. The cathedral was packed to the rafters with excited children many of whom came in Superhero costume themselves. There were a huge number of Superheroes and Kids Film characters parading around including Batman, Spiderman, Optimus Prime, Minions, Big Hero 6, Robin Hood, Elsa and more. Spiderman was up on the balcony climbing around on his spiders webs – he was a bit hard to handle! There was a big up front led show to finish with songs, puppets and all the superheroes joining in.
Click on the link below to see all the action of Superhero Saturday
Lisburn Cathedral would like to offer their “Superhero World” exhibition as a resource to other churches. All the printed signs were taken down carefully and can be reused. The template for the “Superhero World comic is also available along with the ideas for the interactive stations. If anyone would be interested in finding out more about using this resource, contact the Lisburn Cathedral Staff.