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St. Alban’s Episcopal Church’s Lenten Arts Program begins March 13

Music and a one-man play giving Judas’ side of his part in Jesus’ crucifixion are on the schedule for St. Alban’s Episcopal Church’s Lenten Arts Program beginning March 13.

The series, entitled “Come to the Country … ,” will run each Wednesday from March 13 to April 10. Each program begins with a healing and Eucharist service at 5:30 p.m., and performances starting at 6 p.m. All are free. For more information, call 601-636-6687.

“The programs began about 10 years ago, just after I came to St. Alban’s,” pastor the Rev. Billie Abraham said.

“I was wondering what we were going to do for Lent, because most churches have special programs during Lent. I decided to go into the arts, and we had the healing service, then we had a soup dinner, and then an arts performance.

“We are not having the soup dinner this year, because our church is under construction and we don’t have a kitchen. People are welcome to come for the healing service and the arts, or just the healing service; they can pick anything they want.”

Lent, Abraham said, is a time “to open ourselves up and reflect upon our relationship with God, and the arts have the ability to do that. We shift from that ‘to do’ side of our brain, to the wide-open space of creativity.

“We are the audience and the performers are there to offer us the opportunity to slip into that mindset of creativity.”

Arts, she said, “Come alive with the audience that listens. So the people who listen become part of the arts performance because they feed into the energy of the artist.

We’re looking for people to come and sit and allow the arts to do what the arts do so well.

“The arts are part of who all of us are if we give it a chance; let its power have its way with us.”

This year’s programs, Abraham said, will feature a fiddle fest, a vocalist with accompaniment, a performance by Patrick Smith and his band, and the Mississippi Boychoir.

The fiddle fest, she said, will feature blue grass music and hymns. “It will be music to stomp your feet with. It’s wide open to whatever they want, but it’s hard to sit still during their concert because it’s so active,” she said.

Patrick Smith’s band, Abraham said, plays popular music and gospel music.

John Maxwell’s one-man play, “Judas Iscariot,” she said, “Is a way of looking at Judas that we don’t ordinary see; Judas’ total misunderstanding of what Christ was about.

“Drama is so powerful; it’s going to be the Wednesday before Holy Week and it really sets the tone to entering into Holy Week; to making that journey with Christ to his crucifixion.

The schedule for the Lenten Arts Program includes:

• March 13: Fiddle Fest, Full Circle with Nicholas and Julia Blake and Joanne Ryan.

• March 20, Patrick Smith and Band.

• Clarissa Davis, vocalist, and Dr. Mike Davis, accompanist.

• April 3, Mississippi Boychoir.

• April 10: John Maxwell monologue, “Judas Iscariot.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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