This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Project Promise celebrates Easter

Photo: Participants from MDC Goldenrod rehearse for An Easter Play, which they performed twice on Saturday March 19 at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church. Photo provided. 

The folks at Project Promise, a ministry for individuals with disabilities through MDC Goldenrod, have been putting on An Easter Play in the Goshen, Ind., area for the past nine years. On Saturday, March 19, the group performed the show twice in front of a packed house at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church.

According to Greg Sommers, Director of Outreach and Development for MDC Goldenrod, the script was written by Donald C. Yost especially for Project Promise. Yost, who has written movie scripts for Miracle in Lane 2 and Full-Court Miracle, took key scenes from the Gospels and condensed them into a 45-minute performance.

This is the second year for Mark Dilworth to direct the play and his eighth year volunteering with MDC Goldenrod. Dilworth started volunteering in 2009 as part of a service project in his degree completion program at Goshen (Ind.) College.

“I wanted to do more with my service than was required through Goshen College,” said Dilworth. “I wanted to be a part of something long-term, [and] something my family could take part in as well.”

Dilworth and other volunteers began working with the actors in early January, holding practices at the

Mennonite Central Committee Depot in Goshen. “The actors hold a lot of value in retelling Jesus’ story of passion, death, and resurrection,” said Dilworth. “They take the play very seriously.”

Tammy Friesen, Executive Director of MDC Goldenrod, said that as soon as Christmas is over, those involved in the Easter play are anxious to get started. “They get into play mode and they are ready to go,” she said.

For the past eight years, the part of Jesus has been played by Lamar Miller. Miller, who has Down’s

Syndrome and is part of the Amish community, said that playing Jesus often makes him feels sad. He focuses on the emotions Jesus must have felt during the time of his passion.

Miller spoke of portraying Jesus during the scene at Gethsemane, “When I kneel down to pray to God for help, I just beg and beg.”

Miller’s father, Lloyd, said that his son puts his heart into playing the part of Jesus. “He works so hard to put emphasis on Jesus’ words. We don’t help him with it at all,” said Miller. “It is all him.”

A freewill offering was collected following the performance for Project Promise. Donations and volunteers are always welcome at MDC Goldenrod and Friesen encourages communities to get involved.


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