A cultural event sponsored by the Church of Scotland and taking place on 'Assembly Sunday' — May 22nd, 2011 — will seek to illustrate the connections between the Kirk, Scottish Christianity and the life of the wider community.
'Roll Away the Stone' takes place in Princes Street Gardens (West), in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city, from 1.00pm until 6.00pm. "All are welcome to this free event", say the organisers.
The gathering has been designed to coincide with the week-long General Assembly of the Church of Scotland - the Presbyterian denomination's national decision-making body, which has been gathering annually since 1560, the year of the Scottish Reformation.
'Roll Away the Stone', which takes its title from the gospel story of the resurrection of Jesus and the removal of the stone from the entrance to his tomb, is being described by the Kirk as "a time of celebration, inspiration and discovery."
"Significance comes from the cross and resurrection; life flows from the tomb," says the event's website.
The gathering will begin with reflections around a huge cross in the garden area near the Ross Bandstand. Meanwhile, at the Bandstand itself, in the picturesque avenue and fountain areas, and in St Cuthbert's Church at the west end of the Gardens, there will be "space for worship, praise and singing amongst a whole range of other things to see and do."
The schedule of events is as follows:
1.00 – 1.30pm New Scottish Arts Chamber Orchestra.
2.00 – 2.30pm Fischy Music
3.00 – 3.30pm Scotland African Massed Choir
4.00 – 4.30pm Steph Macleod and his Band
5.00 – 6.00pm Closing Worship with Massed Choir
St Cuthbert's Church
1.00 – 1.30pm Drumming Workshop
1.45 – 3.15pm Messy Church
3.30 – 4.00pm Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon
1.00 – 2.00pm Visit the Belfry
1.30 – 2.30pm Sanctuary in the City
2.30 – 3.00pm Lothian Gaelic Choir
3.15 – 3.45pm Young Organists' Recital
4.00 – 4.45pm Netherlee Junior and Senior Choirs
2.00 – 4.30pm Cuthbert Office
1.00 – 1.20pm Easter Play Scene
1.25 – 1.40pm Interview — Changed Lives
1.40 – 2.00pm Gordon and Susan Whyte
2.05 – 2.20pm Storytelling
2.20 – 2.40pm Gorebridge Worship Band
2.45 – 3.00pm Interview (World Mission)
3.00 – 3.20pm Puppet Show
3.25 – 3.40pm Storytelling
3.40 – 4.00pm Comedy Moments
4.05 – 4.25pm Fischy Music
4.25 – 4.40pm Interview: The Moderator and the Lord High Commissioner
During the event Eco-Congregations Scotland will be building a small church from plastic bottles to raise awareness of the environmental issues facing both church and community.
They say: "Please bring an empty plastic bottle with you and add it to the church. You'll find the location of the 'plastic church' in the event guide on the day."
There will also be an opportunity for participants and observers to help build a 'cairn' of stones.
More information, and a map wit directions, can be found here: http://www.rollawaythestone.org.uk/
© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia, and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.