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Clanton church holds drama in outdoor theatercomment (0)

April 6, 2006

By Linda Lyle

The Easter sunrise service at Providence Baptist Church No. 2, Clanton, in Chilton Baptist Association is more than just a tradition. It’s a representation of what Easter is really all about: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
According to Pastor Glenn Bonds, the church has been putting on an outdoor production of the Passion of Christ almost every year since 1981. 
This year’s presentation, which will be held April 16 at 6 a.m., focuses on the crucifixion and resurrection but will also include scenes from Jesus’ birth, the calling of the disciples, His miracles and burial. The production has as many as 70 cast members as well as 12 to 15 singers and musicians. 
Terry Mims, youth minister, will portray Jesus Christ. Mims said he takes his role seriously, praying over his part, memorizing his lines, reading the Bible passages to get a sense of the scene and growing his hair and beard. He said he is humbled by the fact that he has been chosen to play the part of the Savior.
The service began when Nila Minor, church secretary, had a dream of telling the story of Christ in a drama. And the church already had the perfect venue — the lot across the road from the church has a natural amphitheater slope that was perfect for an outdoor drama. 
The church made the dream into an event drawing people from Clanton, neighboring communities and other counties. Several church members even have family from other states visit around Easter in order to attend. The service has had as many as 400 in attendance.
Those in attendance have often been moved to tears, especially during the arrest, trial and crucifixion scenes, Bonds said. Many also kneel at the cross at the close of the service. Wayward church members have been reclaimed and children have begun to ask questions about the Bible that lead to their salvation, he said.
Kenny Powell was one of those people. In 1981, he was asked to videotape the first presentation on his new 8mm camera. Powell said that while taping the event, he did not pay attention, but when he replayed the video — minus sound — something about the scenes of Christ’s crucifixion caused a tugging at his heart. 
Although Powell wasn’t saved that night, he felt there was something missing in his life and began attending services there. At a revival meeting a few weeks later, he accepted Christ along with several other members of his family. Now he is a part of the production. His story is a testament to how this production reaches people who wouldn’t normally go to a church service and impacts them with the gospel, church leaders noted. 
“We see this sunrise service as our way of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and sharing the good news with our community and those who attend,” Bonds said. “We are trying to find additional ways to tell the world about Jesus, but this production has become a highlight of our church year.”
For more information, call Bonds at 205-755-4126.

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