ELIZABETHTOWN — The organizers of a wildly successful Easter drama are hoping for an even bigger year this season.
Last year, Doris Cromartie, of Living Springs Church, was led to write a play focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Called The Cross, the play was performed to a standing-only crowd of around 300 people at Living Springs.
“I just can’t tell you,” she kept saying. “God just poured His Spirit on people — the actors, the people in the audience. People were weeping, and they were coming up to me months after it was over telling me they couldn’t get over it. When I started it, I had no idea how much God was going to use it, and I’m just amazed at what He did.”
This year, with a clearer vision of how God is using the production, its organizers are honing in on one purpose.
“We are making this completely about winning souls,” Cromartie explained. “We’ve been compelled to ‘go into the highways and byways’, and we’re hoping honestly and praying that God will reach young people that are lost.”
Organizers are taking thousands of fliers into the community and targeting areas with unchurched people.
The play — taken directly from the passion account in the four Gospels — begins with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem during Passover, includes scenes like the Garden of Gethsemane, hearings before Pilate, and Jesus’ death, and culminates with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on the third day.
The Cross will take place at Living Springs Church on Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m. Cromartie said there will be no tickets sold, no admission price, and no offering taken.
Throughout the Easter season, many other events are taking place. What follows is a listing of some.
Bladen County …
— Thursday, April 13 — The Bladen County Public Library Main Branch will hold a Children’s Party at 5:30 p.m. Advance registration is required by calling 910-862-6990. Adult supervision is required during the event.
— Saturday, April 15 — Jones Lake State Park will hold its annual Easter Egg hunt from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sponsored by Friends of the Bay Lakes, the day’s events will include games, concessions, crafts, prizes, and special events. While the event is free to the public, pre-registration is required by calling 910-588-4550 or by stopping by the Visitor Center. Registrants should arrive early for check-in, and the hunt will begin promptly at 11 a.m.
— Saturday, April 15 — Tar Heel Baptist Church will host a Community Easter Celebration from 10 a.m. to noon. The event will include chicken and BBQ, door prizes, and an Easter egg hunt.
— Saturday, April 15 — In Bladenboro, Galeed Church’s Easter Celebration will include Easter stories, face painting, an egg drop from a ladder truck, train rides, a slide, a scavenger hunt, and egg toss. The celebration will take place from 11 a.m to 1:30 p.m.
— Saturday, April 15 — Trinity United Methodist Church will host an Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. Games and pizza will start off the festivities, and the hunt will conclude it.
— Sunday, April 16 — Elizabethtown Prebyterian Church’s Chancel Choir will present its Easter Cantata “Christ is Alive” Sunday, April 16 at 11 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. The church is located at 800 W. Broad Street in Elizabethtown.
— Thursday, April 13 — Halybury Park in Wilmington will hold its annual Spring Eggventure from 9 a.m. until noon, featuring kid-friendly programs and activities, including Animal Eggs and Nests, Egglympics, Storytime, and a Spring Nature Hike. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Egg Hunts will take place at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 for children age 2 to 9. Admission is $5.
— Friday, April 14 — Battleship Park in Wilmington will be the site of the East Egg Hunt Carnival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children will find pony rides, eggs, bounce houses, candy, games, and Buddy, the Battleship Bunny. Egg hunts will take place throughout the day. Entry is $5 per person, and children 2 and under are free.
— Saturday, April 15 — Beginning at 11 a.m., Clinton Community Church will have its annual egg hunt with more than 10,000 eggs, inflatables, snow cones, and games. Admission is free.
— Saturday, April 15 — A Community Egg Hunt & Car Show will take place at College Acres Baptist Church in Wilmington from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature coffee, donuts, popcorn, snowcones, the STR8 Up Outta Mephis BBQ Food Truck, a bounce house, door prizes, the Easter Bunny, games for children, and an Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. Admission is free.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.