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West End Baptist present walk-thru Christmas play

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

It was a walk through time for attendees to West End Baptist Church’s Living Christmas Walk at Goose Pond Park.

Stations depicting different biblical scenes lined the walking trail, beginning with when the angel appeared to Mary. As they walked, visitors heard from narrators, including some of Jesus’ disciples, Lazarus, Abraham and others who told the account of Jesus birth, death, resurrection and ascension back to heaven.

Guides led the way and tiny candles lit the path in the darkness. Rebekah Chapel said she enjoyed being a guide because she was able to see all of the completed scenes.

Several of the West End actors have participated in the events for several years. The tradition had ended for a while but was brought back last year and looks to be an annual event once more.

Some, such as Lori Farris and Shelli Sansom had been in the presentation when they were teenagers and were now participating as adults. Each had played Mary in the Nativity scene at one point.  This year they were together in the opening scene, which is the only modern setting, to get everyone ready for what they are about to experience.

“It’s a great ministry, obviously, for our community,” Farris said. “For me, it is the least I can do at Christmastime, just to spend a couple of nights out of our year, and hopefully, bring someone to Christ, it makes it worth it. And, it also puts us in the Christmas spirit, too.”

Sansom said the tradition keeps her wanting to participate. This year, her son and his friends are also a part.

Michelle Coppedge, who played the Samaritan woman Jesus met at a well, was also a returning actor.

“We love it,” Coppedge said. “It is fun to be here and to reach our community for Jesus.”

The scenes each person participates in have changed over the years. Each Sunday school class is asked to participate and make sure a specific scene is covered. Sets for each of the scenes are created in such a way that they can be stored and used again next year.

“Telling the story of Jesus — It never gets old,” Jordan Lightsey, who played a leper who had been healed by Jesus, said.

Lightsey said the leper lived exiled from society and “Jesus saw through that. He saw a person through the scars and the disease.”

“I believe that’s how we as Christians should see the world, not by what marks us and what doesn’t but that we are all people,” Lightsey said.

Narrator Matthew Williams said he enjoyed the opportunity to share the story of Jesus both with those who had heard it previously and those who had not “hoping that some will be saved.”

“I came here when I was a child and now I get to be a part of the story,” Morgan Leonard, who played Mary, said. “I think that is one of the coolest things for me is I get to give back the story that helped me develop into the Christian I am today.”

For Patrick Kornegay, it was his first time to participate.

“It is a great ministry opportunity,” Kornegay said. “It is one of those things that only comes around literally once a year.”

He said someone specifically asked him to play Peter in the crucifixion scene, so he did.

“We do it all for the glory of God,” Gene Headley, who played Lazarus, said.

While the Dec. 13 presentation was canceled due to weather. The Dec. 14 presentation was clear and just chilly enough to enjoy the free hot chocolate that was being served.