‘Behold the Lamb’

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Harbour Shores Church presents its Old and New Testament story for the 22nd time

Just in time for Easter, Harbour Shores Church presents its stirring musical drama “Behold the Lamb” for the 22nd year. The production will take guests through the Old Testament, to Passover week in the New Testament and ends with a spectacular heaven finale.

One of, if not the largest cast for a Hamilton County production, “Behold the Lamb” involves more than 500 individuals with 300 costumed actors and musicians. Director Lisa Jennings said all involved are members or regularly attend Harbour Shores, 8011 E. 216th St., Cicero – just north of the Noblesville city limits border.

Jennings

“It brings us together – one heart, one mind, one focus,” said Jennings. “I never cease to be amazed at what God has done and continues to do in this church.”

Approximately 98 percent of the church congregation is involved every year.

“It is an opportunity for entire families to serve together, from birth through grandparents. Several church members take a week of vacation to be available during the BTL week,” said Jennings. “No one gets paid, yet thousands of hours are invested sewing costumes, building and painting sets and props, rehearsing, blocking, baking for the reception and, most importantly, praying!”

Scenes include individuals from the Old Testament and events from the New Testament like the Lord’s Supper, Garden of Gethsemane, the birth, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

While he may portray Judas, Dan Askren sees his role in BTL as a witness for God.

“I was asked because I have longer hair and a full beard,” he joked.

After serving as an usher for three years, Askren has performed on the stage the past three.

“I wanted to see what was going on – to give something to the church as a witness,” he said. “It’s really neat. The outreach is not just in our community, but across the state.”

Judas (Dan Askren) receives payment from the high priest Caiaphas (Jim Ward) and other priests (Shirley Wiete, from left, Paul Radeliff and Bill Maki). (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Paul Radeliff has been performing in BTL for 14 years.

“I saw it as a good opportunity to serve and be involved in the church,” he said. “Each year, it’s one of those things you look forward to.”

Radeliff said he enjoys the opportunity it provides for those involved and those in attendance.

“God uses this to work in the lives of people,” he said. “People will come one year and the next year they bring someone with them – people they are concerned about that need to see and hear the message.”

Shirley Wiete, a Noblesville resident and teacher at Sheridan Community Schools, didn’t know his students were in attendance until they wanted to know more the following day.

“The kids ask questions in class and it gives me a chance to witness,” he said. “The teachers at the school all talk about it. They joke when I start to grow the beard, it must be time for ‘Behold the Lamb.’ It makes an impact on people.”

Jesus (Clayton Jennings) talks with his disciples – Judas (Dan Askren), from left, Andrew (Josh Leonard) and Matthew (Rex Musselman). (Photo by Robert Herrington)

BTL is a two-hour, original production created by church members. Jennings said the first performance, which was a 30-minute traditional Easter cantata, entitled “Watch the Lamb,” was performed in 1991.

“Because of community demand, it was repeated in 1992. At that time, people in the community suggested we move the production to a larger facility to accommodate the crowds,” she explained. “It was never our intention to have a ‘mega-drama ministry,’ but God’s leading was clear.”

Know More

The 22nd annual Hamilton County production of “Behold the Lamb” will be presented in seven performances Wednesday to Sunday. The show will be held daily at 7 p.m., with matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Noblesville High School Performing Arts Center, 18111 Cumberland Rd.

“Behold the Lamb” featured soloists include Kathryn Carpenter, David Fowler, Mark Hall, Kerwin Kaufman and Greg Turner of Noblesville; Jackie Barker of Lapel; Stephanie Dresser and Audrey Kah of Fishers; John Hardacre of Cicero; and Dara Mainzer of Atlanta. Main characters include Clayton Jennings of Noblesville as Jesus, Mark Hall of Noblesville narrating as the Apostle John, Gaylen Kelton of Cicero as Simon of Cyrene with his two sons and Rufus and Alexander played by Noblesville’s Austin and Samuel Blake.

In 1993, the church took a step of faith and rented Noblesville High School, 18111 Cumberland Rd., where the annual play has been staged the past 20 years. Jennings said people came from all parts of Indiana and many surrounding states. In 1995, the name was changed to “Behold the Lamb.”

“The name comes straight from scripture, John 1:29. We have added performances through the years to accommodate ticket demand, yet we still turn away thousands of ticket requests,” said Jennings. “If we could add more shows, absolutely we’d do it. We could add two full weeks and still not accommodate all of the ticket requests.”

Even though a ticket is required for admission, tickets are free. Jennings said this year’s allotment of tickets has been claimed, but occasionally a seat opens up.

“The last three years, there has been no availability,” she said.

This year, Jennings estimates approximately 20,000 ticket requests have been turned down. When the ticket office opened at 9 a.m. March 5, Jennings said the church averaged 2,460 calls per minute the first two hours. In fact, the volume of calls shut down the server, causing phone lines to be down for more than two hours.

“I’m thankful when the phone rings one time,” said Jennings. “People from Kokomo and Fairmount drove here to get tickets when they couldn’t get through on the phone … It’s moving and it’s humbling.”

For additional information or to join the mailing list for 2013 ticket notification, visit www.beholdthelamb.com.

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