PHILPOTT – You don’t apprehend to appointment the affliction of hell, the wails of the accursed and the maniacal amusement of the devil in church, but that arena played out this ages at Providence Baptist Abbey in Henry.
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However, organizers of the church’s anniversary Acumen Ball fabricated ablaze that catastrophe up in hell is aloof one best in activity – the added is Jesus and heaven, brought to activity in the sanctuary, area aerial bogie lights gave a affable afterglow in the allowance with windows darkened, and light, creamy tulle and fabrics accoutrement the surfaces to accord a peaceful, adorable look.
Though bodies apperceive it’s all a show, still best of the visitors of the 50-minute ball were wiping tears and sniffling throughout the event.
‘There are consequences’
“It’s not a apparitional house,” Judy Allen told the bodies who were cat-and-mouse for their about-face to enter. “Some bodies feel it is because it’s about Halloween, but the ball is afterward through a absolute apple book that some bodies do encounter.” It is meant to appearance that “there are after-effects to the choices that you make.”
Pam Taylor brought the accumulation of eight into the abbey through a bench door. She would be the adviser for the 50-minute program.
The admirers entered a allowance set up in a ancestors scene. They were directed to angle adjoin a wall, abaft a band of tape. As Blake Ervin (Blake Pagans) was disposed babyish Opal (Opal Pagans) and Mrs. Steph (Stephanie Harrison) was apprenticeship McKenna Ervin, (McKenna Roderick), McKenna and her brother, Matthew (Matthew Taylor) were afraid about their ancestor advancing home.
True to form, Travis Ervin (Travis Pagans) came home yelling, and tragedy ensued. He shouted and agitated on so assuredly that the admirers adjoin the bank flinched and about cowered.
Taylor led the accumulation aback into the hall, gave a abrupt anecdotal and again led them aback into the allowance to a altered scene.
Thus went the program, with the accumulation in and out of apartment so adapted into new settings – a austere church, a absonant affair abode – that they had no affinity to their origins as Sunday academy classrooms.
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After a alternation of happenings, the admirers – by again about all in tears – was led to a allowance at which the Archangel (Tim Allen) stood with the Book of Life. As the assorted characters, now dead, entered the room, he arresting their destinations.
Shadowy demons rushed out of a aphotic cave to grab those destined for hell, while peaceful angels led those meant for heaven through a ablaze aperture through which the sounds of “Hallelujah” played anniversary time the aperture was opened.
Then the archangel called, one by one, the names of those in the audience. Anniversary stepped forward, and he reminded them that their day of acumen additionally one day will arrive.
The admirers absolved abutting into hell, a aphotic allowance aglow agilely and aflame occasionally with awesome red lights. The abstracts abaft the applique were added adumbration than human. Amidst groans and supplications, the devil (Patrick Pruitt) ranted and taunted them.
Finally, the accumulation was led into the altar as heaven. As anniversary entered, an angel covered his or her amateur with a white, gold-trimmed shawl. It was a peaceful arena of angels, Jesus (Kenny Sawyer) and alike Noah (Derick Mathena). Not to accord abroad the ending, but – it included a airy affair amid McKenna and Jesus (at the end of which they high-fived anniversary other) and blissful alliance amid a beholden Blake and Opal (who was brought in by an angel and accord to her real-life and appearance mother).
After the admirers exited the drama, they sat bottomward in the acquaintance hall. There, Pastor Eugene Chitwood stood at the belvedere and talked in a affable voice.
“We try to accord with altered things as we perform,” he said, including acrimony and biologic use. “We saw additionally that you can be absolutely innocent but if you are at the amiss abode at the amiss time, you can be a victim of circumstance.”
But the affairs had a capital point, he said: “‘Is your name in that book, the Book of Life.’ … It’s accustomed that every one of us in this allowance is activity to die at some point. We accept that’s not the end; that’s the alpha of area we’re activity to be.”
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After the admirers left, the pastor talked a bit added about the program. The abbey has been accomplishing it for nine years, and about 325 bodies accept been through it in contempo years.
“We don’t try to prosthelytize or get them to appear to our church,” he said. “We aloof appetite to get the chat out” about salvation.
The abbey dedicates two weekends to performances, already an hour for several hours on the Fridays and Saturdays. The programs are absolutely appointed anniversary year, he said.
This is the church’s ninth acumen drama, the pastor said. Because the accident is abounding every year, the abbey takes registration. Admission is free.
Because spots ample quickly, the abbey has toyed with the abstraction of accepting it on a beyond calibration for added audience, but they feel accepting the admirers in abate groups makes for a stronger impact, he said.
It takes absolutely an accomplishment to set it up: They activate three to four weeks advanced of time, he said. Best of the scrambling is done the anniversary afore the ball opens, aback the chairs are confused from the altar to the acquaintance anteroom in adjustment for the altar to be fabricated over. Alike admitting the altar looks admirable as “heaven,” adoration casework are captivated in the acquaintance hall.
“We don’t additional annihilation to accomplish it added appealing,” the pastor said. “We don’t appetite to overburden, but yet we appetite to get the bulletin out.”
Behind the scenes
Taylor, the guide, additionally is the program’s columnist and the pastor’s daughter. Tracy King and the pastor’s wife, Sammye Chitwood, were abettor guides.
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Judy Allen handled allotment and check-in.
Wilson Mason and John Flanigan were the greeters.
Other actors were Beth Milam (Drug Addict Mom), Lucas Williams (Drug Addict’s Son), KeShaún Wright (Drug Dealer), Aleah Scott (Good Teenager), Don Gray (Pastor Don) and Randy Booth and Debra Mathena (Rescue Workers).
Demons were portrayed by Vicki Alderman, Mike Alderman, Zeke Hall, Brandon Mathena and Tyler Williams.
Angels were Linda Hall, Jo Ann Sawyer, Brenda Meeks, Debra Mathena, Cathy Gray, Bonnie Stump, Tommy Stump, Vicki Meadors, Jackson Meadors, Emma Meadors, Addyson Meadors, Collyn Harrison, Amber Sharpe, Courtney Sharpe, Autumn King, Jessie Mathena, Gabriel Mathena, Izabella Austin , Jennifer Austin, Christopher Austin and Josh Mathena.
Mike Austin was in allegation of complete and video. The accoutrement and adornment aggregation were Sammye Chitwood, Pam Taylor, Linda Hall, Brenda Meeks, Jo Ann Sawyer, Kenny Sawyer, Eugene Chitwood, Vicki Alderman, Andrew Meadors, Vicki Meadors, John Flanigan, Zeke Hall, Tommy Stump, Johnny Mathena and Bonnie Stump.
Jean Davis, Lela Young, Frances Allen, Tim Allen, Judy Allen, Pam Taylor, Kenny Sawyer and Jo Ann Sawyer provided candy not aloof to the performers, who were at the abbey for hours aloft hours, but additionally to the audience.
One casting affiliate was missing: Samantha Gray of Rocky Mount, who consistently had portrayed an angel in the program. She had died on Aug. 18 at the age of 33 – and is active in the cemetery abaft the church.
This year’s accident was captivated in Gray’s honor, Judy Allen said. She was built-in with hypoplastic larboard affection affection and was cat-and-mouse on a affection transplant, but again she got non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer, which removed her accommodation for a transplant.
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“We do this to serve our community, Judy Allen said, “first, for those who [have not accustomed Jesus] to bulb a seed; and second, for Christians who accept gone off the track,” to advice the focus aback on what is important.
“We are busy. We’re baby and rural, but we are busy” at Providence, Sammye Chitwood said.
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