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Service sets the Easter stage

Vasquez rocks provides setting for dramatic presentation

Posted: April 11, 2009 1:25 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
It's often hard to imagine what life might have been like during Jesus' time.

No cars. No cell phones. No electricity.

What did people wear? What were people like?

It's even harder to imagine what Jesus went through.

The Alliance of Christian Churches of Agua Dulce and Acton makes it a little easier to understand these questions with their live dramatic presentation of Jesus and his life.

"The Ultimate Act of Love," the annual Easter sunrise celebration at Vasquez Rocks, commences tomorrow at 5 a.m.

The presentation depicts days from the life of Jesus, including his crucifixion and resurrection.

"It's very vivid," said Pastor Wayne Wilson of Acton Faith Bible Church. "Especially Sunday morning when it starts in the dark."

"The drama itself is very powerful in how it portrays the words and ministry of Christ," said Pastor Joel Moore of Crown Valley Community Church in Acton.

Five Christian Evangelical Churches from Agua Dulce and Acton - Living Springs Church, The Shepherd Of The Hills, Family Community Church, Acton Faith Bible Church, and Crown Valley Community Church - organize the sunrise service every year.
"We've been doing it for at least a dozen years," Wilson said.

The three Agua Dulce churches - Living Springs Church, The Shepherd Of The Hills, and Family Community Church - started the tradition. Acton Faith Bible Church has been participating for 10 years.

Crown Valley Community Church of Acton joined the group of churches hosting the event for the first time last year.

The pastors of the other churches invited Moore and his congregation to join in their efforts.

Moore felt honored to represent the Evangelical churches of Agua Dulce and Acton and accepted.

"We believe in the fundamental gospels," Moore said of the other churches. "We share the same vision, and it became infectious. It's important to reach out to the community."

Moore sees this alliance of churches as a chance to reach out and impact the community.

"It's really remarkable that our small churches with a limited budget are able to present this gospel message with such effectiveness," he said.

The many actors who participate in the presentation volunteer for the roles.

"There's always something for (interested participants) to do," Wilson said. "We have a wonderful guy playing the role of Jesus."
Aram Granger will play Jesus' part for the second year in a row.

"I was actually the one to call him to play Jesus," Wilson said. "It's a big role. He gets roughed up."

The service, with the performance, music, and spoken message, lasts about an hour.

People from all over the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys attend the event to experience the drama.

Although the churches set up 800 chairs for attendees, it never seems to be enough.

"It's my understanding that there was close to 2,000 people (last year)," Moore said. "Tons and tons of folks (sit) in their cars, stand next to their horses or sit on the ground."

According to Wilson and Moore, the location of the event makes the message behind it more powerful.

"They need to be placed in the context of how God sent his son as a sacrifice for our sins," Moore said. "It's important to see that visual ... and to see what God has done for them."

"Vasquez Rocks is the most wonderful outdoor location for this," Wilson said. "The beauty of the rocks, the natural stage - you can't put that in a theater. It's so beautiful and majestic."

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