Gospel from the Heart

by Michael Ford last modified 09 May, 2019 11:34 AM

Two of our clergy have retold St Mark's Gospel from memory and now plan to take the show to the Edinburgh Fringe.

The Revd Canon Gerald Osborne who, on Tuesday of Holy Week together with the Revd Dr Colin Heber Percy, engaged in a theatrical re-telling of Mark’s Gospel which had the captive audience hanging on every word.

Having had no previous experience, Gerald had gone through the process of learning the gospel of Mark by heart and subsequently wondered if it might work in a theatrical context. He approached Colin and the two worked together on the recitation.

Colin, who wrote the script for the combined parts and plays the part of the scribe Petronius, provided direction and coaching for Gerald – and together they produced a creative platform for the Gospel narrative.

The performance weaved the overall gospel narrative together with the interaction between Petronius and Mark, and the journey Petronius makes as he’s increasingly drawn in and changed by his experience of recording Mark’s account.

The two have performed on a number of occasions and this time round it was The Avon Valley Team who played host – with powerful effect.

Team Rector Philip Bromiley explained:

"All who attended were amazed at how Gerald could remember the whole gospel off by heart, and also the passion with which both actors delivered the material. It was a great highlight of Holy Week for us all!"

As Gerald explained, it is about bringing the gospel alive.

"It’s a lively gospel anyway, and the power of the words affect people.

"There is such power in hearing the gospel as a whole, beginning to end, seeing how it all progresses and how Mark packs such detail into, what are comparatively, few words.

"Every time we perform we see the audience hanging on the words. It’s not me, it’s the Word itself."

Having performed 29 times so far, Gerald is now gearing up for his next performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - and all this from a priest who has never considered himself an actor!

"I’d never even been in a school play," he said.

Steve Inglis, our Diocese's Ministry for Mission Resource Officer who was there, said:

"It was amazing to see how Gerald’s seedling of an idea and willingness to step out of his comfort zone and try something new and different met with Colin’s belief, experience and coaching abilities, and produced something that powerfully conveys the story of Jesus."

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