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Feeding the 5,000 on Brighton Beach

Gulls wheeled overhead and music blared from the arcades on Brighton pier as an actor playing Jesus fed the 5,000 on Brighton Beach

Feeding 5000
 
In the modern-day re-enactment last Sunday the five loaves and two fish were replaced by tuna, prawn and salmon sandwiches.

Actor James Burke Dunsmore, who often plays Jesus in the Wintershall productions, donned first century Palestine clothes alongside his disciples and dished out sandwiches to the surprised sunbathers.

The contemporary re-telling of Jesus’ famous miracle, which is told in all four Gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6), was staged by Bible Society.

Its head of media is Rachel Rounds, a member of Calne Baptist Church in Wiltshire. She explained the idea stemmed partly from the visit of Chris Duffett during his presidential year.

‘Our minister went out with Chris with his sofa saying ‘We’re here to listen’.

‘I thought it was a great idea and spoke to our media team about what we could do as Bible Society.

‘And we thought if Jesus were here today, maybe he’d be on Brighton beach sharing his generous message with everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from.’

Therese Womack (46) from Borehamwood was dozing in her deck chair when she was woken by Jesus offering her a sandwich. ‘It was most bizarre,’ she said. ‘I thought I had gone mad. But then I realised what was happening.’

John O’Brien (57) from Harrow said, ‘I never thought I would see Jesus on the beach.’

And Pauline Macadam (65) from Hailsham said, ‘It was wonderful. It felt like Jesus himself was giving a sandwich to me.’

Rachel said aim of the contemporary re-telling was to bring the Bible to people enjoying the last days of the summer holiday before the start of the autumn term.

‘We think the Bible is more than a book, a wonderful, powerful, story worth exploring, living and sharing. We want to give everyone the opportunity to encounter Scripture for themselves. Jesus fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish so we thought we’d feed people with fish sandwiches.’

James added, ‘I hope that people will react to the act of giving. Being given something for nothing is disarming.

‘As actors, we are all moved by this story. That’s the reason we are here.’

Sunbathers and holidaymakers weren't the only recipients of fish sandwiches, as Jesus and his disciples handed them out to three homeless charities in Brighton.

 
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