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Easter message delivered with passion

Jesus was led away by Roman soldiers during the Passion Drama Tuesday. Photo by Tara Bitzan.1 / 2
Members of First Lutheran Church in Alexandria practiced for their re-enactment of the Last Supper Wednesday night. Photo by Lowell Anderson.2 / 2

Easter's powerful message of hope, forgiveness and resurrection was retold in Alexandria this week.

On Sunday, a crowd of 1,552 flocked to the outdoor Passion Drama presented by Zion and Good Shepherd Lutheran churches.

Another 1,149 people attended Tuesday's presentation, which put the total attendance at just over 2,701 - an exceptionally large turnout that easily surpassed last year's crowd of 2,156, according to organizers.

On Thursday, members of First Lutheran Church presented their re-enactment of the Last Supper for Maundy Thursday. It's the fourth year in a row the church has held the event.

The mild weather helped boost attendance at the Passion Drama, along with a couple of new twists.

Caleb Meyer, a local resident who attended Concordia College in St. Paul, spoke about the archeological history of Jerusalem, drawing on his own personal experience studying there as a college student.

Another new addition was Jeff Carlson, who portrayed John the Baptist and talked to the crowds before they began their tour.

About 150 volunteers from both churches were involved in the 17th annual production - from set-up and clean-up to reenacting key stages in the life of Jesus Christ.

A little-known tidbit from the organizers: It takes 60 volunteers six hours to set up the Passion Drama, while 30 people tear it all down in about two and a half hours. As in the past, Sentenced to Serve crews helped with the tear-down.

The 20-minute guided tour brought attendees through 13 scenes.

Zion and Good Shepherd will continue their Easter observance with their "Guarding of the Tomb" reenactment this weekend. Volunteers will stand outside a makeshift tomb starting today, Good Friday, at noon and continuing until 5 a.m. Easter morning.

See All The Last Supper Photos

See All The Passion Drama Photos

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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