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Churches offer variety of Holy Week activities

This spiritual week is remembered in various churches in many different ways. Some parishioners carry a cross through their neighborhood. Others re-enact the Last Supper. And many invite the community to pray in darkness with them on Good Friday _ the day commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus.

Here are some of the events planned for Holy Week. All are open to the public.

Clearwater

At 1:30 p.m. Good Friday, members of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension will begin their Way of the Cross procession. Participants will carry a large, wooden cross and wind their way throughout downtown, stopping at 14 stations along the way. At each, they will recount Jesus' suffering before the crucifixion.

Members of Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church and St. Cecelia Catholic Church will join the procession. "Anyone is invited to come join us on the march," said the Very Rev. Richard H. Cobbs IV.

Participants will gather at Church of the Ascension, 701 Orange Ave., before the walk.

On Holy Thursday, Union Street United Methodist Church will present a "Living Last Supper" service at 7 p.m. It is a "living portrait" of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, said the Rev. John Hicks.

"Each disciple will be introduced and then tell his thoughts on that last night together with Jesus," Hicks said. "Seeing it and experiencing it makes you really realize what it means."

The service takes place in the church sanctuary, 1625 Union St. Call 442-9300.

St. Cecelia Catholic Church has decorated five rooms in its Larkin Center to represent the major events during Jesus' last days. The five scenes depict the Last Supper, Jesus in the garden, Pontius Pilate sentencing Jesus to death, the crucifixion, and the cave where Jesus was entombed. The rooms can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Holy Saturday. The church is at 820 Jasmine Way. Call 447-3494.

The Chancel Choir of Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church will perform Requiem by Gabriel Faure at 7 p.m. Holy Thursday. Joining the 30-member choir will be members of the Sun State Opera Society. They will perform a new edition of the requiem that features an English translation of the original Latin text. As part of a Tenebrae service, a candle will be extinguished at the conclusion of each section of the requiem with the presentation ending in total darkness.

Tim Wilborn, the church's director of music, calls the event a combination of a musical performance and worship service. Peace Memorial is at 110 S Fort Harrison Ave. Call 446-3001.

Largo

Suncoast Bible Church will present an Easter musical celebration, "The Crown of Love," at 10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday. The performance will feature Jesus' death, resurrection and return with music by the adult and children's choirs. The church is at 12855 110th Ave. N. Call 595-1739.

Dr. Tom Farmer will present a monologue drama, The Innkeeper, at 7 p.m. Holy Thursday in the sanctuary of St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1199 Highland Ave. Farmer plays the part of the innkeeper who owned the Upper Room, where the Last Supper took place. The innkeeper follows Jesus to Gethsemane and witnesses the trials and crucifixion. He then returns home to tell his story of what he saw. Call 584-8165.

The Crucifixion, a cantata by John Stainer, will be presented at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday in the sanctuary of St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1199 Highland Ave. The St. Paul Sanctuary Choir will present a dramatic portrayal of the events leading up to Christ's passion and death. Call 584-8165.

Dunedin

At 1 p.m. Good Friday, members of Church of the Good Shepherd will begin their Way of the Cross procession. About 30 participants will carry a cross through downtown, stopping along the way for Scripture readings and prayers.

"It makes the world aware that it's Good Friday," said the Rev. Randy Hehr, who encourages anyone to participate in the walk.

The church is at 639 Edgewater Drive. Call 733-4125.

Indian Rocks Beach

At 10 a.m. Palm Sunday, the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem will be re-enacted at Church of the Isles, 2408 Bay Blvd. Children will wave palms and shout hosanna as a man portraying Jesus rides a donkey through the streets.

The Church of the Isle Players will present The Last Supper during its 7:30 p.m. Holy Thursday service. The dramatization is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the same name.

"Each one of the disciples has a monologue on his relationship with Jesus and how it changed his life," explained Mel Tufts, who plays the part of the apostle Matthew. Eventually, "the whole painting comes to life." Call 595-1038.

Tarpon Springs

First United Methodist Church of Tarpon Springs will present a musical worship, "The Christ _ The Cross," during its 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Palm Sunday services. The church is at 501 E Tarpon Ave. Call 937-3271.

He's Alive, a dramatic Easter musical, will be at 6:30 p.m. Palm Sunday and 7 p.m. Good Friday. The performance is presented by the adult and children's choir and the drama ministry. First Christian is at 2795 Keystone Road. Call 934-5903.

Safety Harbor

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit will hold traditional matins and lauds at 7 p.m. Good Friday. The one-hour Tenebrae service is marked by the extinction of 15 candles, one after each psalm, and combines music and scriptural readings to tell the story of Jesus' death. The church is at 601 Philippe Parkway. Call 725-4726.

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