By Sharon Mager
NORTH EAST, Md.—First Baptist Church of North East will present its annual re-enactment of the Lord’s Supper on March 19th and 20th.
This is the tenth year for the production, directed by church member Patricia Adkins. The program, based on the book of John, begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and continues to the upper room. The script was written by Terry Golden, pastor of Bear Creek Baptist Church, North Carolina. Dolly Smallwood, Adkins’ sister, was the set manager for Bear Creek Baptist Church’s original production.
Adkins said she had the program in her possession for several years before suggesting the church actually use it, she just didn’t feel led to bring it out, until then member Phil Meekins got involved with the church.
“Phil was active and ‘gung ho’ and I thought, ‘Oh my! Here’s the perfect Jesus!’ I approached him, he loved it, and he said, ‘Let’s do it!’” Meekins played the role of Jesus for six years before starting a church, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship. Even then, he came back to do the role for a year before his pastoral duties grew, and he couldn’t continue.
Adkins said others have played the challenging part and each brings something different to the role. “It’s very humbling,” said Adkins, who said that Meekins has shared that playing the role in the production has influenced his ministry.
Following Meekins, Ben Lotman, church member, played Jesus. Since then Senior Pastor Steve Hokuf, has portrayed Jesus.
The role of Judas is always a different person each year. “It’s an emotional role,” Adkins said, a role that brings the actor to a time of deep introspection.
“They’ve always said that role is one of hardest,” Adkins said.
Patricia’s husband, Jim, has been involved for six years, playing the part of Matthew. “Every year he grows. He has a heart for Matthew,” she said.
Casting begins in January and Adkins said it’s always funny to see the men start growing beards and looking “scruffy.” “It’s exciting and it’s nice to see them going the second mile. The beards do come off on Monday morning,” she said with a laugh.
The program will be at 7 p.m. on March 19, and at 8:30 and 10 a.m. on March 20. On March 20 there will also be a breakfast and Easter Egg Hunt between performances. On Palm Sunday, during communion, the men, in their costumes as the disciples, serve the elements.