Easter week events to culminate in Resurrection Pageant

During the week celebrated by the Christian world commemorating the final events in the life of Christ, including his death and resurrection, Union College students will be able to follow the story at a series of events throughout the week highlighted by a Resurrection Pageant, which will unfold on March 30 on the Union College campus, with tours starting every 20 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Beginning in College View Church’s Heartland Hall, visitors will travel with Jesus through seven scenes depicting His last few days on earth. Guests will be transported from the Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on to the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the trial by Pilate, the crucifixion and the Sabbath, culminating with the Jesus’ resurrection.

The pageant is a collaborative effort between Union students and employees, with a different group or individual directing each scene. “I’m basically pulling together all the details while the scenes each have their own leader bringing creative imagination,” said Kelli Vigil, the pageant coordinator. “Each site leader has either developed their own script or choreographed their section to music; it’s entirely up to them. I think that’s one of the unique qualities about the pageant.”

“Kelli asked if Associated Student Body [Union’s student government] wanted to help out with the play and several of us said yes,” said Guadalupe Williams, senior business administration major and ASB president. “One of our goals as a team this year is to be involved in other aspects of school instead of just social activities, so this opportunity is perfect. It’s already been a lot of fun. We are at the entrance of the play when Jesus comes into Jerusalem on a donkey and I love it.”

As well as actors and directors, numerous people are donating their time to building sets, designing posters and decorating. “I would say that there are 100 or more people involved,” said Vigil. “It's definitely a campus team effort.”

Along with the many students and employees, several four-footed thespians have also been recruited for the production. “We’re working on getting a donkey, cow, horses and some goats,” said Vigil. “Clyde Peters bought us a lamb and it’s the cutest thing in the whole wide world! I got to spend some snuggle time with Worthy the lamb, and he’s a darling.”

Vigil is working with Hector Melendez, junior theology major and Union For Christ (UFC) director, to coordinate the Week of Prayer leading up to the pageant held Monday through Thursday in the Rees Hall Chapel at 7:30 p.m. and on Friday in the College View Church sanctuary. The Friday evening program will feature a communion service led by Pastor Rich Carlson, vice president for spiritual life, preceeded by a foot washing ceremony—following Jesus’ example at the last supper—at 7:00 p.m. just outside the sanctuary.

Melendez and Vigil came up with the theme, “Follow the Story,” to tie all of the week’s events together. “We both went to a campus ministries convention in Chicago over winter break and were convicted about how we need to understand the bigger picture,” explained Vigil. “The Bible is a story that we are still a part of today. We are all called to be followers of Jesus. Ricky and I hope that through the events of Easter week, we can encourage everybody to come to Jesus and inspire hope in his soon return!”

The week’s celebrations will culminate with the Sonrise service at 7 a.m. on Easter Sunday near the cross in front of the College View Church. Pastor Rich Carlson and Chris Blake, associate professor of English and communication, will lead the annual program which includes songs and prayers in honor of Jesus’ resurrection.

The College View Seventh-day Adventist Church is on the campus of Union College, located at the corner of 48th and Prescott. All events are free and open to the public.