Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 31, 2014

Church keeps an early Easter ‘Promise’

-- — For more than 25 years, Park Avenue United Methodist Church has presented a passion play for the Easter season.

Originally called “God Hath Provided the Lamb,” the production has continued for the past several years as “The Promise.”

Each year, director Reese Nelson seeks different ways to tell the greatest story ever told. This year, he places the focus on the jailed older disciple Peter who recalls his days with Christ to a jailer. This perspective allows the church a different way to tell the familiar story while also serving as a transition for a long-time cast member. Terry Hiers has played the disciple Peter for nearly 30 years with the church production; this year, as the older Peter, he introduces a new performer in his traditional role as the disciple with Jesus.

For the past several days and for the next two days, Park Avenue United Methodist Church presents the annual performances of this production.

Using only members of the Park Avenue congregation on stage and behind the scenes, “The Promise” has become a regular part of the church’s life. With thousands of people filling the sanctuary’s pews each year, “The Promise” has also become a regular part of the community’s Easter season.

As a church member has said in the past “The Promise” prepares the church and its audiences “for Easter. We get so focused on the crucifixion and Good Friday but when you see that stone rolled away each year, you know you can have Easter now. We have that promise of eternal life.”

Though “The Promise” is about the Lord’s promise of eternal life, it seems to also be a promise from one church to its members and the community. A promise to remember the importance of Easter.

“The Promise,” an Easter musical drama of redemption, continues 7 p.m. today and Wednesday, April 1-2, Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 100 E. Park Ave. More information: Call (229) 242-3562. Admission: Free, first-come, first-seated.

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