Church: Lake Harriet UMC
Submitted by: Rev. Melanie Homan
Lake Harriet United Methodist Church in Minneapolis has been using theater as a way to reach new people in the community for many years.
This year, the Lake Harriet Players picked Jesus Christ Superstar for their spring musical. The musical, which is about the last week of Jesus’ life, will fittingly be performed during the middle of part Lent (the weekends of March 13-15 and 20-22). The show is free to all; a freewill offering will be collected to help cover the expenses of the musical and a portion of it will also go to various nonprofits.
The production includes more than 100 people—60 cast members, 10 band members, and many more volunteers who help behind the scenes. About 50 percent of the people involved are from outside of the church.
“I haven't been here long, but I've had conversations with people who first came to know the church by attending the musical as part of the ‘audience’ and then came back for worship,” said Rev. Melanie Homan, pastor at Lake Harriet UMC.
Lake Harriet UMC realizes that its theater ministry is just as important as more traditional outreach.
"We have always strived to follow Jesus' example of radical hospitality in two major ways—anyone who auditions and wants to be in our play is automatically included, regardless of their gifts, age, or experience," Lake Harriet UMC Director of Music Kathy Webb said. "And we do not have tickets. We never want cost to be a barrier to seeing our show."
The cast and crew have been active in helping get the word out about the musical. At the same time, Homan is leading a worship series that explores the scriptures related to different songs from the musical, and cast members have been invited to sing the songs during worship.
Recently, the community member playing Jesus shared during Sunday worship what it is like to play Jesus and how that has informed his own faith.
For more information about show times go here. No tickets or reservations are needed.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church