Easter play brings gospel to life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By Nyla Smith

Contributing Writer

RESERVE – Bethlehem and New Pilgrim Baptist Church of Reserve presented the play “He is Risen,” Sunday during their Easter Resurrection Service.

The production was based on the biblical scripture Matthew 28:6, which tells of an angel that appeared to the women who went to anoint Jesus body and discovered He was no longer dead.

The production was written and directed by Viola Telfair of Reserve.

Telfair, a member of New Pilgrim Baptist Church, said she has been writing Christmas plays for the church for 27 years, but this was her first time writing a play based on the resurrection.

“Pastor asked me about a month ago to write a play for Easter morning,” said Telfair.

She said she began to search the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for inspiration and wrote the play on the scriptures.

“I asked God to give me a message that would touch the people and change lives,” said Telfair. “I wanted the play to show Jesus is alive.”

The pastor of both churches, Reverend Dr. Forell Bering Sr. said he was pleased with the performance and plans to make it an annual event.

“The footsteps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,” said Bering. “God is pleased and smiling on us.”

Cast members consisted of parishioners from both churches who recited their lines with ease and few mistakes. The performers’ accurate portrayal of the biblical characters also kept the audience engaged throughout the play.

Telfair said the members of the play rehearsed and memorized their lines in three weeks.

“I told them they could read their script during the first rehearsal, but they needed to know their parts for the second and third,” said Telfair.

Minister Byron Perry attended the play and said it reminded him of performances the church hosted in the past.

“The play was wonderful,” said Perry. “It was well organized, and I enjoyed it.”

Telfair said she is grateful for the volunteers from both churches who supplied her with everything she needed, from sewing to props.

The remainder of the service offered churchgoers a concert performed by a combined choir of both sanctuaries called the Resurrection Choir and a spoken word called, “The Danger of Leaving before the Benediction.”