When: 2001 & 2002; 2003
Where: I-20 @ 378 (exit #61), getting off on a ramp heading
toward Lexington, S. C., about 200 yards from I-20, turn left at the Corley Mill Road stop
light if heading west toward Lexington & right if heading east toward West
Columbia...this puts you on Ginny Lane & the turn-in onto the church property event
parking is about 300 yards from 378, on your right. [This location was behind the new campus of
Northside Baptist Church on #378 just west of its overpass over I-20.]
The Story Behind this Annual
Some years ago, our music minister, Joe Helms, saw
an outdoor event centered around the birth of Jesus at a small church in Florida. Of all the
drama and musical events Joe had seen in his years of ministry, the Lord chose to plant this
one as a seed in Joe's mind.
In late Dec. of 2000 or early Jan. 2001, Joe
called several church members together at his and Donna's home: Joe Helms & wife, Donna Helms, Jim
& Ann Richardson, Peggy Cook, Jim & Rhonda Filiatreault, and Tim & Doris Ellis.
Joe laid out a large vision for an evangelical outdoor drama event which would be held on the
church's ( Northside Baptist Church, West Columbia, S. C.) 128 acre Lexington County property
at I-20 & 378. The group was struck by the enormity of a big drama project which would
have to be held in less than 3 months.
Church members would have to step forward quickly,
and they did!
Jim Richardson told me that he went to bed praying
to the Lord for a vision of the layout of the walls of the Jerusalem drama set (about 60 by
25 yards) to accommodate the action scenes. On about the 5th night, it began to fill his
mind. It was an uncovered, out-in-the-weather set. Many said, "Jim, what if it rains or is
too cold?" "That's not my problem...the vision is from God; and if He wants it to rain,
that's no problem for me."
Jim & Rhonda Filiatreault began, with some
others, to plan, oversee, and do the production of wall segments, arches, stages,
Peggy Cook oversaw (and did much of it) the making
of over 60 costumes.
Tim & Doris Ellis composed the drama scenes,
sequences, and scripts for all phases of the production. They helped select the participants
(Roman soldier, beggar lady, Jesus for various scenes and on the cross, Apostles at the Last
Supper, street people & peddlers, shopkeepers, etc.) for the drama parts, and the men
began growing beards.
Drama set technical folks came forward, security
and parking teams formed, communication and publicity efforts began, and prayer teams began
Greeters were trained who began the process of
orientation for each 30-person group as the group waited its turn (a Roman guard on a parapet
allows a new group to enter Jerusalem about every 5 minutes) for the beginning of an
approximately 30 minute interactive drama within the walls and various streets. We went,
& our 4 year old granddaughter talked about it for weeks (and still vividly remembers the
scenes swirling about as each visitor-group worked its way through the Jerusalem
Counselors were trained for discussions available
at the end of each group's experience with any individuals who might either want to know more
about Jesus and church or even those who might want, right then, to accept Jesus the Messiah
as their Lord & savior. There is
no pressure at all for anyone attending to meet with any
Clifford Fisher & his wife, Margaret Fisher (Lexington County Coroner in 2016) ,
were contacted to provide some live animals, a gift that they make available also
to This Man Called Jesus. They have the
camel, Abraham & Sara the donkey and other animals which they use for 4-5 church dramas
and 10-15 vacation bible schools each year.
You will be drawn into this Passover-week drama
and feel like you were there while moving through the market, witnessing the events of the
arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, seeing Him tried before Pilate, moving aside as
the cross is dragged by, seeing Him crucified on the Cross between two thieves, and observing
the resurrection from the tomb. All is quickly played out by a cast of 250 as you move along
through the city streets of old Jerusalem. After Easter, volunteers take the huge set down
and store it for the next year.
The inaugural event preceded Easter 2001, the weather was beautiful (warm
& rainless); and 4352 people attended. Of those, 213 wanted more information
and 24 accepted Jesus into their hearts as their personal
We anticipated over 10,000 visitors for
the 2002 enactments as over 500 church members were involved in
all aspects of the 2002 6-night production. Easter came "early", and the weather was
very cool the 1st weekend. It rained a couple of mornings, but dried off by the evening. On
Easter eve day, the 30th, it rained steadily until about noon. There was a bad storm system
in the Gulf driving storms through Texas, eastward. At about 5:30 p. m. it began again to
sprinkle rain and to thunder & lightning. Even so, the lines were filled and groups
already starting through the enactment...in spite of a light drizzle...when that last-night
series had to be called off due to electrical difficulties related to the bad weather. The
fruit: 4510 attended and 63 are counted as salvations, having prayed the sinner's prayer to
accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Almost 190 others wanted more information! Joe Helms
accepted a call to another church out west in May 2002. In January 2003, many having left the
church or tired, the 2003 event was cancelled. Joe Helms would later leave for a church in Missouri; and, as of 2016, he and Donna are back in Lexington County with First Baptist Church on Barr Road.
***give me your comments about this
You have just read a very brief example of the
powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the
acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will
accept you just as you are right this
second! Consider accepting Jesus now [check it out]!