December 1, 2012 11:12:17 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
Usually at this time each year, the congregation of First Baptist Church in Columbus is preparing to erect an open-air "village" that represents the Bethlehem of ancient times. This Christmas season, however, the church at 202 Seventh St. N. will offer a special event of a different kind, as a gift to the community.
On Friday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 9, the church presents a musical drama, "Home for Christmas: A Story of Lost and Found."
The inspirational and original story centers around a retired missionary couple and their family. The wife has passed away, and the widower, played by FBC Minister of Music Bobby Sanderson, is facing his first Christmas without her.
Each character in the drama experiences his or her own strains as the family comes to terms with the absence of someone so central to their Christmases past. The missionary feels pressure to provide a Christmas like his wife did, for their daughter and her family who are coming home for the holidays.
The daughter, in her turn, feels pressure to step into her mother's role.
Sanderson's on-stage "grandchildren," portrayed by Sallie Gardner and Steele Altmyer, are grappling with their struggles as well.
"I play 15-year-old Amanda," said Gardner, the 17-year-old daughter of Grant and Darlene Gardner. "She had prayed with her grandmother about accepting Jesus, but now she's kind of at a standstill and is confused."
As the family rediscovers the true and fulfilling focus of Christmas, music from adult and youth choirs enhances the story.
"This gives us a chance to involve all the resources of the music ministry, both traditional and contemporary, and all our worship leadership team," said Sanderson.
The cast also includes Connely and Ashley Dale, along with FBC Pastor Shawn Parker and Minister to Students Todd Core.
"Home for Christmas" is suitable for all ages and is especially designed for families, Sanderson said.
How to go
Presentations of "Home for Christmas" will be on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., and on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.
Group reservations for seating may be made by contacting the church office at 662-328-3915.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.