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Small Lottie church draws large crowdscomment (0)

April 26, 2001

Few people have ever heard of Lottie, Ala., let alone Lottie Baptist Church. But thanks to God’s intervention through the leadership of Pastor Dempsey Bell, and the dedication of almost the entire church membership, Lottie Baptist is attracting crowds by the thousands.

Masses of visitors from seven different counties and two neighboring states have made the pilgrimage to the small north Baldwin community of Lottie during April. Their mission is to view an outdoor presentation of five different scenes that depict the Easter story.

Lottie’s unique and effective presentation of outdoor biblical productions is becoming a trademark for the Escambia Association church.

Nearly 100 church members ranging in age from 7 to 70 participated in the time consuming Easter passion play. “Our planning committee started working on the Easter production in December. That’s how dedicated and excited these people are about their witness,” Bell said.

Echoing these sentiments, Robert Hughes, who plays the role of the Apostle John said, “This passion play is all about glorifying the Lord. If we can save just one soul every second of the work we have put into this will have been worth it,” Hughes, who owns the only business establishment in the community, Lottie Groceries, said he invited everyone who came through the door to the passion play.

“A girl came in yesterday who didn’t go to church and I invited her to come,” he said. “I’m honored and pleased to be a part of this production.”

Two years ago Josh Plant was asked by Bell to handle the lighting and music cues for the church’s productions. Although it was a big assignment, the then preteen handled the job flawlessly. “I haven’t missed a cue yet,” he said as he expertly twisted the control knobs on the electronic board. One of the unusual aspects of the passion play is that it lasts only 18 minutes and is repeated for several hours. Although last year’s production involved cars driving through the church’s parking lot to view the play, the anticipated crowd for this year’s production of more than 15,000 resulted in bleachers being brought in for viewers. Almost all church members help out in some capacity- directing traffic, bringing food every night, sewing costumes and painting scenery.

Annette Roberts, one of the six ladies whose unwavering faith kept the once lethargic church alive, now happily sews the many costumes need for the play.

“We’re doing God’s work,” she said. (TAB)

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