'Joy of Easter'
You can experience the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ at "The Joy of Easter" at 7:30 p.m. today and Friday at St. Matthew United Methodist Chuch in Belleville.
This is the 24th year for this ministry, which presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ in drama and music.
The production was created by Hank Oplinger, minister of Music & Worship, who will also direct the music. Lindsay Vollmar is the drama director.
"The Joy of Easter" includes a company of nearly 350 people, encompassing choir, orchestra, drama troupe, set, light, make-up, costume, and sound crews. The role of Jesus is played by Jamie Palmer. Many live animals will be featured in this year's production.
St. Matthew United Methodist Church is at 1200 Moreland Drive in Belleville. Call 618-397-5994 for more information. Doors open at 6 p.m. A nursery, available for infants through 3 years old, will open at 6:45 p.m. A love offering will be received.
The Pentecostals of Troy will present "Messiah" at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at 312 S. Main St., Troy. The Easter musical features The Triumphal Entry, The Last Supper, The Crucifixion and The Ressurrection.
Admission is free, but they are asking for a donation of a non-perishable food item or personal hygiene item for Ministry Unlimited. Information: www.pentecostalsoftroy.org, call 618-667-6054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 150 adults and children will perform an Easter Passion Play at 7 p.m. today through Saturday at Grace Church Ministries, 2100 State St. in Chester (doors open at 6:15 p.m.).
The musical drama is based on St. Matthew. Step into the streets of Old Jerusalem with cobblestone streets, vendors, live animals, music and dancing. It's free and open to the public. For more information, call 618-826-4734 or visit dotheword.com.
Bald Knob service
The 77th Annual Easter Sunrise Service at Bald Knob Cross of Peace will be held Sunday atop Bald Knob Mountain in Alto Pass.
It's the 50th birthday of the restored 111-foot-tall Cross, which was completed in 1963. The visitors center will open at 5 a.m., providing coffee and doughnuts. The sunrise service will begin at just after 6:30 a.m.
Music will be provided by Final Journey of Anna and Gary Cox of Sparta with accompanist Tammy Gurley Washer. Steven McKeown, senior pastor of Christian Life Center in Herrin, will deliver the message.
Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.
More information and this year's program can be found at www.baldknobcross.com
Radion station WXAN 103.9-FM will be broadcasting the service live and online.