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Hundreds experience ‘Passion’ at North Shore Alliance Church in North Fort Myers

April 6, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Despite some downpours early in the day, the rain stayed away and hundreds came to North Shore Alliance Church on Saturday as they did the previous evening to witness the sixth-annual "Passion Experience" a play depicting the final days of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.

Pastor Tim Richter, who spearheaded the event six years ago and played one of the Jesuses, said the event has always been meant as a gift to the community and as a way to show the true meaning of the holiday.

"We're here to portray the entire Easter story and teach people extra things, too," Richter said. "Every year we get more people coming to the event and more telling us how much they appreciate it. It not only encourages their faith but they bring others struggling with their faith."

Article Photos


Jesus, played by volunteer actor Jeff Beougher, rises from the dead during “The Passion Experience” at the North Shore Alliance Church on Saturday.

Groups of 25 to 30 people took to the boardwalk at the church and proceeded through seven scenes, with five volunteers playing the role of Jesus, some of whom have played the role from the beginning.

They, as well as the 70 others who played roles in the play, did their scenes numerous times throughout the two evenings, nearly all in front of 25 to 30 people for two solid hours.

Every year, the play has changed a little. This year, the dancing girls did a more elaborate routine. Before that, they added horses and enhanced scenes here and there.

However, it's the same story.

Dani Freeman, who had seen the show as a parishioner, became a tour guide for the first time, describing what the people witnessed.

"I saw it twice. It's very moving and phenomenal. I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when I walk through," Freeman said. "It was different being a guide. But people saw it in a different perspective rather than what they hear in the Bible."

It's an event that once people come, they make sure to come again. Barbara and Tom Martello of Bonita Springs made it for the second time and they said it's a wonderful thing to see on Easter.

"Seeing it for the second time was more emotional. It's how I felt physically," Tom said.

"It's like going through the stations of the cross. It makes you realize what Jesus did for us and to appreciate our blessings," Barbara said.

Bud Collins of North Fort Myers has made the Passion Experience a yearly ritual. This was the fourth time he's gone and every year it has gotten better.

"The scripture was right on the button. Each year it gets better and it revives your spirit," Collins said.

North Shore Alliance Church is at 330 W. Mariana Ave.



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