Lake Area Passion Play to bring Christ’s life to a coffee shop

Jesse Hollett
Posted 3/8/17

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A coffee shop is the next setting to experience the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights will bring Christ alive at its annual …

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Lake Area Passion Play to bring Christ’s life to a coffee shop

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – A coffee shop is the next setting to experience the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights will bring Christ alive at its annual Lake Area Passion Play April 7-9, and in doing so modernize Christianity’s most precious story – the resurrection of the Messiah.

“We really kind of come in to speak about what it really means, why Christ came to the earth, why he died on the cross and what that really means in eternity,” said Scott Stanland, the Passion Play’s writer, producer and director.

“We believe, and of course and I believe, that Jesus still makes a difference in everyone’s life even today,” he said. “That which we see recorded for us in the Bible and the scriptures is very applicable to life today, so we strive in this particular Passion Play to relate some of the issues and struggles of life that we find today to biblical struggles.”

Although a coffee shop is initially an unorthodox location to relate the story of Easter, Stanland said the setting is perfect to introduce characters experiencing problems that Jesus addressed in his ministry.

The play begins with a charismatic coffee shop owner and Christian among non-believers and believers alike. Each character struggles with some sort of conflict revealed in their dialogue together while sipping their coffee. The play then flashes back to the time of Christ, where the problem is addressed. The play runs through the main plot points of Jesus’ story, with his ministry, his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, trial in front of Pontius Pilot and eventual death.

The play ends on a heaven scene on the church’s main stage where angels and believers alike worship God as he sits on his throne.

“We just strive to tell the story of Jesus and how he came to affect life and tell that story in a meaningful, relevant way,” Stanland said. “We really kind of come in to speak about what it really means, why Christ came to the earth, why he died on the cross and what that really means in eternity.”

A full choir will accompany the play.

The show is quite an undertaking every year to put on, he said.

Preparation for the play begins eight months before Easter. This year, the play features roughly 150 cast and crew, a number that Stanland said is relatively standard for a play the size and magnitude of the Lake Area Passion Play.

The tradition of an annual Easter show began 27 years ago. Stanland has been involved in the play from the beginning.

“[The play has changed] greatly from just a handful of actors and about 30 or 35 choir [members] to what you see now. Here we are today with a full set and curtains and lighting and all the cast and crew and singers, so it‘s made a vast change over those 27 years.”

The Lake Area Passion Play runs April 7-9. Showtime is at 7 p.m. daily, doors open at 6 p.m.

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