Copyright © 2013 Jane And Mark Lewis.
Part 16 - Letters and Memories
by Jane And Mark Lewis
Capernaum Street grew out of our desire to write our own
"soap opera"-style series of sketches which would be based
on a UK soap opera (in order to feel familiar and engage
people) and have cliff-hanger endings (to encourage people
to come back for "next week's exciting episode").
Then one of the series we were doing in our Family
Services was on the life of Peter. As Peter was a
"Northerner" (as far as those in Judea were concerned)
we decided to write a series tenuously based on Coronation
Street. As Peter lived in Capernaum, the title of
Capernaum Street wasn't too difficult to come up
with! We were then faced with the constraints familiar
to many church drama groups - a lack of resources and a
Hollywood special effects budget. These seem necessary
given the miracles Peter witnessed. Then we had the idea
- what if Peter "came home from work", as it were, from
his "day job" as a disciple of Jesus to relay all his
experiences to his wife Elizabeth (OK we made up the
Elizabeth bit but we know Peter had a wife because he
had a mother-in-law - see Mark 1:30). This would mean
only two people were required and no special effects!
Capernaum Street was born and the format has remained
(more or less) the same ever since. Each episode Peter
returns from his day with Jesus to recount everything
that's happened to Elizabeth in an
"up-North"-kitchen-sink-type-Coronation-Street style. In
the later sketches (including this one), that occur
after Jesus' ascension, we've slightly modified this
format to adjust to Peter's new role.
This sketch was written for York Community Church's
20th Anniversary as our Capernaum Street sketches have
been tried and tested on the long-suffering YCC
congregation over the years. The theme of the
service was Memory and remembering what God has done so
we thought about how exactly did Peter come up with the
ideas for his letters....(in particular this is based on
(Note: the Part numbers refer to the order the sketches
were written in and not necessarily the order of events in
- Peter, apostle of Jesus.
- Elizabeth, his wife.
Peter should be dressed to suggest "fisherman". (E.g.
wellies, big woolly jumper, water-proof jacket, etc.)
Elizabeth is a house-proud housewife and should be
wearing a house-coat, have her hair in a scarf and have
a duster to wave around for emphasis
(Note: We've always stuck with the same costumes so that
the characters are recognisable though by the later
sketches from Acts and this one in particular it doesn't
really fit with the situation!).
The scene is a room in a house. Peter is sat at a desk....
We use three devices to create a consistent "look and
feel" to the Capernaum Street sketches:
- The characters are always dressed the same in every
sketch (see above).
- For each performance we project the Capernaum St.
sign (illustrated above) on the data projector.
- We use, what turned out to be, a very successful
device for indicating the start and end of each
sketch: the Theme Tune. We both play the first few
bars of the theme tune to Coronation Street on
Script (as performed)
[Peter is sat at a desk
scribbling notes. Then scrunching up the paper and
throwing it away - ideally aimed at the youngsters in
the front row of the congregation...]
Oh Peter, there you are, What are you doing?
writing a letter...
Elizabeth: My goodness.
Things must be serious. The first one took you long
enough! Letter-writing isn't your cup of tea is it
Peter: No I
know. Paul is much better at it that me...[idea strikes]
Oh, actually, that's not a bad idea I might mention his
letters actually because that sort of fits. His letters
are very good, very clever but some people try to distort
Elizabeth: I don't follow? What on
earth are you writing about?
want to write and encourage all the churches we're in
contact with. Basically because of all these false
teachers that are springing up all over the place -
telling people things that are just plain wrong about
Elizabeth: Oo I know! I was
telling that Lydia next door, you've got to be careful
people are making all sorts of nonsense up. You can't
believe everything you read on Witter, [disdainfully]
"hashtag trendy-new-teaching". So yes you should write
Peter - because you were there - you saw it all. First
know, I know, but I'm struggling with what to focus on.
There's so much I could say but I'm not great with letters
as you know. I'm a fisherman, well I was ... but I'm no
Oh Peter don't
be silly. You've had all the experience you need!
Why I remember when you first started going around with
Jesus it must be...what 20 years ago?...and I
thought. Oh my goodness Peter's gone all
religious, he'll come back a nutter. But Jesus was the
real thing - you've seen him do amazing things!
Absolutely amazing things Liz.
You used to
come back here... well not here exactly here ... our old
place, and you'd tell me all about what you'd seen:
miraculous catches of fish
Walking on water.
Elizabeth: People healed.
telling a storm to be quiet.
Elizabeth: And that time on the
mountain you told me about. You said Jesus was
transformed right in front of your eyes and shone like
you know that is a great idea Liz. I was
there. I did see it - I know that Jesus is the Son
of God because I saw his glory on that mountain and God
spoke to us! I'll remind everyone about that - me and the
other lads weren't making up cleverly invented stories
like some of these "so called teachers" are doing we saw
it with ours own eyes!
Elizabeth: And weren't Moses
and Elijah there too?
they were but I...oh! [another idea strikes] Moses
and Elijah. The Law and the Prophets. Think about all the
prophecies that Jesus fulfilled Liz.
Elizabeth: Oh yes.
Peter: I can
write and remind everyone about all the prophecy in
Elizabeth: Yes that's a great idea
Peter - my you are really getting inspired aren't you? I
expect that it is what it was like for all those
prophets - they were carried along by God's Spirit as he
spoke to them.
Pardon Liz? What do you mean?
Elizabeth: Oh now don't tell
me I need to explain a sailing analogy to you
Peter. When you're sailing you're being carried
along by the wind, you know wind - like the Holy Spirit.
I expect that as those prophets of old were speaking or
writing their prophecies down they were being, you know,
blown along by the Holy Spirit. [blows on Peter for
that's brilliant. Right I need to get all this
Elizabeth: That's lovely
dear, I'll go an make you a nice cuppa to keep you
luv! [Starts writing]....
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