YUKON — A local church wants to immerse visitors in the Easter story.
Visitors to ActiveChurch's “The Passion” dramatization will experience what it was like to walk with Jesus as He makes His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
They will sit with Him while He eats his Last Supper with His disciples and listen as He kneels in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray to His heavenly Father.
Michele Hardy, the church's administrator, said attendees will see Jesus be beaten by a Roman soldier, then nailed to a cross alongside two thieves.
And they will see Him rise from the dead and walk from His tomb — an act which Christians throughout the world will celebrate on Easter Sunday.
“We live in such a sight and sound society,” Hardy said.
“This generation has got to see it and hear it to feel that they are there.”
Hardy, whose husband, Deral, is the church's pastor, said this is ActiveChurch's fourth year to present the walk-thru experience. The dramatization began Friday and also will be presented Saturday and Sunday.
“We transport people back about 2,000 years. It's almost like a painting come to life,” said Ron Vavak, the church leader who coordinates “The Passion.”
“It's very in-your-face evangelism, because at any time, they are less than 5 feet from the action.”
Michele Hardy said the church at 400 N Yukon Parkway was founded about four and a half years ago and is affiliated with the Pentecostal Holiness denomination.
She said between 300 and 400 people attended last year's Passion presentation.
Church volunteers dramatize seven scenes that depict the final days of Jesus' earthly ministry, His crucifixion and resurrection.
Hardy said three of the scenes are inside the church, while the final four scenes are outdoors. Groups of 10 to 12 people at a time are led through the free walk-thru presentation, which takes about 20 minutes, she said.
Afterward, Hardy said, visitors are taken to a prayer tent where church members are available to talk with them, answer any questions they might have and pray with them. Hardy said numerous people over the years have told church members that the presentation touched them and caused them to open their heart to God or reassess their life.
Vavak said the holiday effort is the church's way of letting community members know that the Lord cares about them.
“We like to show people that there was a real man named Jesus. He was the Son of the Father, and He came to show us the way,” Vavak said.
Hardy and Vavak said church members like to present the Easter story as a nonthreatening way to reach out to people who are unchurched. They said about 80 people attend the church on Sundays, and many of them — from age 4 into the 60s — are helping to bring Jesus' Passion to life.
“It really changes people's lives,” Hardy said. “That's why we do it.”