The Passion Experience, a series of small performances depicting the Easter miracle, will return to North Fort Myers this week, courtesy of North Shore Alliance Church and a good number of actor volunteers.
The station-by-station outdoor performances will take place this Friday and Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. on the church grounds at 330 W. Mariana Ave.
The vignettes will feature the miracles of Jesus, the Last Supper, betrayal and trial by Pilate, the crucifixion and resurrection.
“It’s what the real meaning of Easter is about. It’s why we celebrate Easter. We like the bunnies and the eggs, but Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that’s why we celebrate,” said Linda Smith, church office manager.
The free event is the only such outdoor drama in the area, where visitors can come walk the grounds and experience scenes with the help of a tour guide dressed as a shepherd.
Nearly 700 people came out last year for the performances, which were divided into groups of 20 or so, and sent to the five stations, where every 15 to 20 minutes the performers told their part of the story.
Pastor Tim Richter started performing the Passion Experience in Tallahassee 15 years ago and at his previous church in Port St. Lucie.
When he came to North Shore in 2013 and saw the land the church has, he thought it was would be perfect place to perform the story again. He built a boardwalk and started the performances that same year.
Richter continues to make improvements to the show, which has gotten bigger each year. They have added a stage, an amphitheater for the Last Supper and arrest, another for the resurrection, and even brought in a horse for the soldier who takes Jesus into custody.
“It’s pretty much the same story, I don’t think there will be anything different about the performance this year,” Smith said. “The five Jesuses we had last year are back this year.”
Five volunteer actors Richter, Torrey Mitchell, John Manning, Dan Hetrick and Jessie Beougher – are expected to play Jesus. More than 70 people will take part.
For additonal information, call the church at 656-1553 or visit www.ns-church.org.