Pilgrim Baptist Church presents ‘Passion of the Cross’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The drama of Easter will come alive at Pilgrim Baptist Church during Easter weekend, when a cast of 40 will bring to life the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

&uot;Passion of the Cross,&uot; a stage play written and produced by Vickie Green and her associates at the church and from her playwright ministry, will begin at 6 p.m. on Good Friday, continue on Saturday and conclude on Easter Sunday, both days also at 6 p.m.

&uot;In January, the pastor approached me to put on a passion play,&uot; Green said. &uot;I didn’t know whether I could do it, but I remembered Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’&uot;

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Although she had three years of experience in writing inspirational plays, &uot;Passion of the Cross&uot; is the first play she has taken directly from Scripture, Green said.

Writing the play required close study of the Bible, she said, as she did not want any detail to be inappropriate.

At a recent rehearsal, she paced the center aisle at the handsome new church on Wilson Road and called out directions to sound and light technicians while also directing actors.

&uot;We’ve been practicing about a month,&uot; she said, praising cast members for their dedication.

The Rev. Melvin White, pastor of the church, said his hope is that people from throughout the community will come to he play and that it will be a blessing to them.

&uot;The message of hope will be significant. We can reach the lost through that message,&uot; White said. &uot;And for those who are believers, they will be reminded of the love and suffering of Jesus Christ and know there is hope for us.&uot;

White said he hopes the play will draw both white and black, rich and poor. &uot;This is a free gift to the city of Natchez,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re for kingdom building in the body of Christ.&uot;

Green echoed those thoughts. &uot;I want the whole community to see the passion of Christ and to know the love he had for us,&uot; she said.

Among the cast members are some who are well known in the community, including Bishop James E. Calhoun, who plays the part of Pontius Pilate; the Rev. David Green, who plays Caiaphas; Dan Williams, Judas; Gary Stewart, Jesus Christ; Edwin Lee, Satan; and Maise Mayberry, Mary.

Green said passion plays are produced all over the world. And the recent cinematic blockbuster &uot;Passion of the Christ&uot; by Mel Gibson rekindled interest in the drama of Easter.

&uot;I’m no Mel Gibson; but I am so grateful to Pastor White for asking me to do this,&uot; Green said. &uot;I’m just a vessel. Christ chose me to bring his word forward in this way.&uot;