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Passion experience

North Shore Alliance Church to present the story of Jesus

April 15, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Jesus' life was an incredible journey, and now worshippers can go along on that journey.

The North Shore Alliance Church, at 330 W. Mariana Road, is presenting The Passion Experience, a two-day outdoor performance on Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

It is the second year the church has presented this unique show of how Jesus died for the sins of people of the world. Last year about 500 people saw the event, with the hope of doubling that number this year.

Dress rehearsals began Thursday, with the nearly 70 performers fine-tuning their lines before the performance.

Pastor Tim Richter said he wanted a show where, instead of people just sitting and watching, you walk through seven scenes on the church's just-completed boardwalk.

"It's like a tour, but you're part of the tour. Some people will interact with you," Richter said. "In one scene some people come out of the woods and make you feel like part of the crowd. It's almost interactive."

Richter said he did "The Passion Experience" at his previous church in Port St. Lucie, and when he saw the nine acres of woods the church has, he thought it was would be perfect place to do the show again.

"We weren't using it for anything, and I could really see how we can do this for a drama and carve out a path and it would work well," Richter said.

Work started in February with rehearsals and costuming.

The performance is a combined play and guided tour, with audience members taken in small groups by a guide dressed as a shepherd, while Jesus' life, Last Supper, betrayal, sentencing, death and resurrection is depicted, with five people playing the lead role.

"It's more than organized religion, it's a performance that shows you what Jesus is all about by experiencing what he went through, said Lorraine Baker, one of the guides. "It's something you will remember throughout all your Easters."

Jesse Beougher, who plays the fifth Jesus, the one who is resurrected, wanted to do it because he's a member of the church family.

"I never acted before, and I played Jesus last year and really enjoyed it," Beougher said. "To me, it portrays why we're here and his journey and what he did for us. It shows us what to expect when end times comes."

The church had several groups take the tour to give the cast the work it needed, and came away impressed.

"It gave me goose bumps and I know all these people. It was a touching performance and I recommend it," said parishioner Betty Appleby.

The ultimate goal is that people understand that Easter isn't about eggs or the Easter Bunny, Richter said.

"The purpose of this is to give people a deeper understanding of Jesus' passionate love for them by seeing what He went through for them," Richter said. "We also do it to enhance our community."



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