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Church stages scenes from life of Christ

April 02, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A Washington County church is inviting members of the community to a live presentation of the life of Christ this Easter season that they can view without leaving their cars.

Motorists can view the display tonight and Saturday night from 7 to 9 at the Church of Christ at Hagerstown, 10014 White Hall Road.

"Through seven scenes, we are trying to span the whole life of Christ," said Pete Anderson, one of the organizers of the pre-Easter event.

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There will be costumed actors and elaborate sets at each station, and some will have live animals.

Music will play as motorists work their way around the semi-circular driveway in front of the church. Lighted signs that can be read from inside a vehicle explain each scene.

"Though the actors won't be speaking, they are encouraged to move appropriately as if they were really the characters they are portraying," Anderson said.

Visitors driving in the "entrance only" access to the church will first encounter angels who herald the birth of Christ. There will be live sheep and shepherds there, Anderson said.

Next is the manger scene, complete with an infant member of the congregation portraying the Christ child.

Other scenes depict the Magi visiting Jesus, Jesus walking on water, the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed the night before he was crucified, Christ on the cross and, finally, the resurrection.

"The scene where Jesus walks on water includes a boat and the illusion of water," Anderson said. "There is a deep hole in the middle of that set where Peter steps out of the boat and sinks up to his knees."

Crosses are used at the crucifixion scene and costumed soldiers cast lots below the cross.

"This year there will actually be a real person on the cross, though not with nails, of course," Anderson said.

Last year, nearly all members of the church were involved in some fashion. Age was no barrier - from an infant baby Jesus to an 87-year-old member who played an angel.

"It's a whole church effort," said Anderson, who spearheaded the program with his wife, Tammy. "Not only does it give us a chance to bring people to Christ, it also gives all of us a chance to use our gifts in a hands-on manner."

Anderson said it takes about 24 people to staff all seven stations. Substitutes give those people a break, which means about 60 actors are needed.

The support staff directs traffic, attends to the nursery and feeds those involved in the production.

The church can be reached by taking Beaver Creek Road off U.S. 40 southeast of Hagerstown and turning left on White Hall Road. The church is about a half-mile down that road on the left.

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