Passion play moves audience

Published 11:36 am Friday, April 5, 2013

BERRIEN SPRINGS — A unique opportunity awaits on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien Springs. On Saturday and Sunday visitors to Andrews annual Passion Play can step back in time and follow the steps of Jesus Christ during his life, death and resurrection.
This marks a significant scheduling change moving Passion Play from Easter Sunday to the first weekend in April.
“There have been years when Easter weekend fell immediately before or after spring break, finals and even graduation, making it very challenging schedule-wise for the hundreds of students, staff and faculty volunteers for Passion Play,” says Japhet De Oliveira, University chaplain and Passion Play producer, of the date change. “Likewise, Easter weekend can be a very busy time for families. We’d like to see this scheduling change provide new opportunities for members of the community to experience the Andrews University Passion Play.”
This 90-minute indoor-outdoor walking experience begins with Simon’s Feast in Pioneer Memorial Church. Witness the well-known scenes from Jesus’ life, revealing his love and mercy. Follow Jesus as he rides a donkey through a bustling Jerusalem marketplace. Live animals in the stable area and a live traditional Hebrew dance add to the ambiance of the marketplace. Travel in his footsteps during the dramatic scenes of the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane, to the poignant moment of the Trial in Pilates Court. The Passion Play concludes in the Johnson Gym with an unforgettable portrayal of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Also new to the 2013 Passion Play are smaller group rotations limited to 300 guests each.
“The Passion Play tells an incredibly powerful story, but if you are lost in a sea of people, you can feel disconnected and even miss key parts of the story,” says De Oliveira. “We will be limiting each group rotation to 300 in order to create a more personal experience for each person who attends. To add to the ambiance of the Passion Play while also helping with crowd control, we’ll have Roman guards at several checkpoints checking wristbands.”
Passion Play wristbands can be reserved online for free at
Reservations are required. Wristbands will be available for pick-up at registration.
Andrews University is located one-half mile east of the U.S. 31 Bypass in Berrien Springs.