By Riley Manning
As Easter draws near, some churches in the area are taking their passion to the stage with all manner of free dramas, musicals and productions.
Last Easter, Hope Church in Tupelo brought back its generation-old tradition of an extravagant musical production of the Easter story.
The event’s success surpassed the expectations of worship pastor Jon Ginn and lead pastor, the Rev. Scooter Noland.
“God’s really had his hand on our church as a worshiping church, and I think people anticipate the pageant as something special,” Ginn said.
According to Ginn, more than 200 church members are involved, some of whom remember the original traditions as children.
“The Hope of Easter” will be shown on Friday and Saturday. Doors will open at 6 p.m. both nights, and the show will begin at 7 p.m. For information, call (662) 844-8522.
Oakland Baptist Church in Corinth will present its passion play, as it has for the past 23 years. Minister of music Jim Pinkston said the drama will feature full sets, costumes, makeup and a complete orchestra.
“In the past we’ve had live animals, but they’re a little hard to manage,” he said. “The biggest difference this year is the number of people involved. We’re able to portray a much larger number of biblical characters.”
Pinkston promised the show would be interactive, taking place as much in the aisles among the audience as on stage.
The play, “Redeemed,” will run Friday to Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call (662) 287-3118.
East Heights Baptist Church is taking the script into its own hands this year with an Easter production composed by East Heights’ own Gary Townsend and Hunter Slay, worshippastor and children’s minister, respectively.
“It’s a drama about a couple of students, their teacher and a time machine,” Townsend said. “They travel through different moments in biblical history, the students observing and asking questions to their teacher.”
Townsend said watching the production move from scratching on paper to script to real life has been rewarding.
“A cantata might only use the choir, and the children’s play might only use the children, but this involves everybody,” he said.
“Jesus Beyond Time and Space” will be shown during East Heights’ 10 a.m. service this Sunday.