It took a single parishioner, working alone, a whole year to create the church’s first Station of the Cross.
Then the Rev. Ann Kaufman came on board with encouragement, and others stepped up to help.
The project has moved right along, so this Lenten season Wesley United Methodist Church on Old Spanish Trail has its own Stations of the Cross made by its own members.
They are 14 stained-glass pieces, each measuring 12 by 18 inches, installed on lighted boxes.
Wesley United plans evening services for the Stations so ambient light doesn’t disrupt the effect.
“Stained glass is meant to be looked at with light shining through,” member Patty Bryars said. “And they couldn’t be installed in the windows, so we created the boxes. It works.”
Stations of the Cross, or the Way of the Cross, depicts Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and the journey toward that. The Lenten services offer accompanying prayers at each stop.
Each box, built by member Don Leo, is lit by a string of LED lights.
Bryars had the inspiration and some expertise in stained glass. As the project picked up steam, she held workshops every Monday at her home in Ocean Springs. Five or six real faithfuls stuck with it.
“I don’t know how we got it done,” she said.
Some members would come and do the important task of selecting pieces of glass from the piles that could be used for grass or sky. They found pieces with grain to simulate wood and ones with texture for a good stone pathway.
Others helped put the puzzle of each picture together.
The images at each station have simple, clean lines. There is a color progression — the sky gets darker in each picture.
The robe on Jesus stays the same throughout, but the glass used for his face begins to look blood-streaked as the Stations of the Cross move closer to his death. Bryars said the glass with red streaks was a real godsend and she was grateful for it.
The final product hangs on the walls of the sanctuary. The pastor hand-lettered the plaques for each station.
“Every one we did,” Bryars said, “the farther we got along, we were like ‘wow.’”
Lenten schedule for Stations of the Cross at Wesley United Methodist Church, 8900 Old Spanish Trail, Ocean Springs:
- Sunday, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — self-guided
- April 2, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — self-guided
- April 9, 6:30 p.m. — congregational
- April 13, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — self-guided