The Truth... What is it?

Journey to the Cross

When: 2001 & 2002; 2003 cancelled...discontinued.

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 Event:

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, props, etc.

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 their work.

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 layout).

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 counselor.

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 savior!

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 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.

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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]!