(Whitmire) Feb. 23, 2005 - Jesus on trial at Heritage Wesleyan Church in Whitmire.
Wednesday was one installment of a multi-part drama. "The State versus the King of the Jews" explores legal arguments in the case against Christ. Each segment is being staged at a different Whitmire church with pastors playing the main characters.
Marion Boozer is Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea and the judge in the trial, "He's under terrific pressure himself. Jerusalem was not an easy place to be the Roman governor."
Emma Ruff was only too happy to participate, "I asked for this part, to be the prosecutor. It gives me a fresh perspective of what actually took place so many years ago."
Rebecca McPherson is the defense attorney, "I think one of the significant things about this play is that it does open our eyes to things that were not given an opportunity to be heard."
Pastor Mark Stevenson plays Jesus, "I think it brings home the thoughts of what Christ went through. Maybe the illegality of the trial."
The play may be doing more than just illuminating a Biblical story. The town of Whitmire has been hit hard by the closing of its textile plant a few years ago. The local pastors say the community needs something to keep it from fragmenting any further. Emma says the trial of Jesus might be helping to do just that, "The population has dwindled down to approximately 1500, therefore there's a great need to bring the community together in any way possible."
Wednesday's was the second of six segments leading to Easter. In the coming weeks there will be more witnesses and more legal maneuvering, but little suspense over how the trial ends.
Still, in a time of uncertainty for their town, people here have found something they can count on.
Court will convene each Wednesday in Lent at the upcoming locations:
- March 2 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Main Street
- March 9 at Love Chapel Holiness Church, Clark Street
- March 16 at Whitmire Presbyterian Church, Church Street
- March 23 at First Baptist Church, Glenn Street
The public is invited to become jurors by attending the Wednesday morning court sessions, beginning at 11:00am, with opening devotions before the trial begins. A soup-and-sandwich lunch, provided by the host congregation, will follow.