A-cross the World

An exploration of forty representations of the cross from the worldwide Christian Church

Martyn Payne and Betty Pedley

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Around the world today the cross is, arguably, the one universally recognized symbol of the Christian faith, but this unifying sign for diverse Christian communities has been much adapted, decorated and interpreted to convey particular stories that are dear to the community from which they come.

This book tells the stories behind forty crosses from a wide diversity of cultures and Christian faith traditions and sets out to promote discussion and debate on why this single, historical event continues to exercise such an influence worldwide.

The book is divided into two sections.

Section One contains:
Stories, information, Bible links, wondering questions and suggested activities on the forty crosses, together with suggested prayers and words from across the world based on that particular cross. The material for this section was originally produced in-house by the Church Mission Society.

Section Two contains:
A wealth of extension material ideal for use in the classroom at Key Stage 1 and 2, in collective worship and in church-based activities, including icebreakers, games, prayers and poems, crafts and session outlines for special activity days, assemblies, holiday clubs and all-age worship.

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Author info

Based in east London, Martyn Payne taught languages and RE for 18 years at secondary level and then for eight years worked in primary schools nationally as the Children's Education Officer for a large Anglican Mission Society before joining the Barnabas Team. Martyn has produced a wide range of materials for primary schools about contemporary expressions of Christianity around the world, as well as articles and worship material for RE Today, Together with Children and Roots magazines.


From World Mission - BMS July/August 2005

A-cross the World as the title cleverly suggests is a children's work resource which explores the way the central symbol of the church has been illustrated and interpreted a-cross the world. Here is a collection of 40 crosses, from different countries, each with its own understanding and interpretation of the Christian faith.

The book is divided into two sections, the first giving us the background for each cross. They are well illustrated (with photocopy permission given), and linked to a particular Bible story. We are also given the background behind each cross and details about the life of the Church in that part of the world. The book has been divided to represent six different regions: Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australasia, the Americas and Europe. Another useful bonus is that all of the crosses are available as colour illustrations on the BRF website, and can be downloaded to use in presentations.

Section two contains teaching materials for leaders and teachers so that a programme can be built around the different crosses. As with most BRF children's material, it has been designed in a way which makes it relevant for school and church use. For churches there is a holiday club outline programme, several Sunday school or children's club outlines, with ideas for all-age worship, discussion starters and craft ideas for producing the different crosses. Although the idea of producing 40 crosses as a craft project sounds very mundane, they have succeeded in coming up with a wide range of mediums including clay, straw, metal, fabric, wood, paper and card. For school use the material has been divided into key stages 1 and 2, with plenty of ideas for collective worship. Within this section there is a wealth of ideas including icebreakers, games, prayers, poems, quotations, craft ideas, stories and references.

I believe this resource is a useful reference and practical ideas book for those who work with children in school or church.

Reviewed by Aled Davies, Baptist minister in North west Wales and Director of the Council for Sunday School and Christian education in Wales.

From: Morovian Church Youth & Children's Newsletter Spring 2005

Most people recognise the cross as symbolic of Christians - but have you ever thought about how many variations there are on the theme? In this book you will find forty different representations of the cross - from African and Anchor to Taize and triparted - as well as a huge range of activities, crafts, worship ideas and games that could be used in churches, with after school groups or in holiday clubs.

Why look at these crosses? Because they reflect the many different cultures where Jesus is worshipped and give some idea of the range and breadth of Christian symbolism around the world.

The book is clearly illustrated, has masses of material and would be brilliant as the basis of a holiday club for 5-11 year olds.

From: Magnet} Spring 2005

This very attractive, well produced book will be of interest to adults and children alike. It tells the stories behind forty crosses from a wide variety of cultures and Christian. traditions and encourages discussion as to why this symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus continues to have such a worldwide influence. There are plenty of craft ideas which are easy to follow, with suggestions for use in schools and churches.

From Star News London diocese newsletter for children's leaders January 2005

Around the world, the cross is recognised as a symbol of the Christian faith, but Christian communities have adapted, decorated and interpreted it to express something of the story from which they come.

A-Cross the World explores 40 different representations of the cross from Christian communities including Sudan, South India, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Iran.

The first part of the book gives the background, Bible links and activity ideas for each of the crosses. The second part has extension material which could be used in school, Sunday groups or holiday clubs. This part has ideas for icebreakers, assemblies, activity days and all-age worship. With a bit of adaptation, you could also use it as the focus for a Lent course with adults or mixed ages.

From Childs Talk: Liverpool diocese newsletter for children's workers January 2005

First published by CMS in ring binder format, this book includes fifteen new crosses and a wealth of suggestions as to how to use the resource with school & church groups or as part of worship.

Part One contains stories of forty crosses from around the world, including a Bible link, craft ideas, and information about the life of the Christian Church in that part of the world.

Part Two contains material and ideas for special events and situations such as all-age worship, a two-hour programme and holiday club. Includes permission for photocopying.

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857460745
  • Published: 21 October 2011
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
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