By Darren Lum
Take a journey in the Highlands and celebrate Easter like you’ve never done before with the Haliburton County Stations of the Cross Tour.
From March 26 to Easter Sunday, April 4, the community is invited by the Church of Haliburton County to tour the area’s nine participating churches and see the 14 stations shown through the creative work produced by nine amateur artists, starting at nine, who will show Jesus’ journey to the cross.
There are nine participating locations: Lakeside Church, St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, Haliburton United Church, The Lighthouse, Northland Faith Church, West Guilford Baptist Church , Eagle Lake Church, Lochlin United Church and Ingoldsby United Church, both in Minden.
Chairman of the Haliburton Ministerial Association, who represents the participating churches, Paul Graham said there are a few reasons why this event is exciting for the churches of Haliburton County.
“Even though we all come from different Christian traditions, we all serve the same God and put our hope in the same Jesus. The Stations of the Cross are a reminder of that diversity and unity we share. The “stations” method comes from a very Catholic or Anglican tradition that perhaps Baptists or Pentecostals wouldn’t normally embrace, but we get to share in the richness of those traditions by doing this together. On the other hand, the way the stations are presented through art is different than the Anglicans might expect, so they see their traditions in a new light as well,” he wrote in an email.
He adds this event is possible because of its support from church members, who created the art.
“These are personal expressions of their faith and reflections on what Jesus is teaching us through the Easter season. We were a bit limited by the pandemic and the outdoor installations, but we are learning what could be possible for next year,” he wrote.
Highlands resident Heather Alloway has been the driving force behind this event and calls it a “journey to Easter.”
This tour isn’t just for Christians, Alloway added.
“Whether you’re a Christian or whether you’re not a Christian it involves big life questions and it provides place during Easter and Lent to just be reflective,” she said. “With COVID-19, a lot of people cannot even darken their own churches let alone whatever. It allows people to walk by, social distanced, and drive by, you know, get the guide and have an Easter celebration despite our masking,” she said.
The inspiration for this tour, Alloway said, came from how Toronto will be hosting the Stations of the Cross Crossings: A Journey of Easter Arts Exhibition event in 2022. Started in 2016, this event series has already been hosted around the world such as London, Washington, New York and Amsterdam.
From promotional material for the Highlands’ event, it states: The hope moving forward, is that each new year, budding or established local, Christian artists could contribute art pieces to guide us along the Way of the Cross through this tour.
Graham said even though each station will have its own message, he wants people to finish the tour with an overall feeling of hope.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything over the last year it is that life can distract us from what is really important. It has taught us how close all of us are to illness, to loneliness, even to despair or hopelessness. We want people to physically visit and see that God has not left Haliburton without hope. He has provided a way for people to know Him, and to experience His mercy. His church is right here in this community, in many places, offering that good news.”
A guide for the tour is available at mylakeside.ca/SOChaliburton