Top – left to right: Dr. Patricia Scott-Brooks, Dr. Jenee Scott, LeBron Anderson, Jireh Mathews-Johnson, Nairobi Barnes, Precious Burnside, Londyn Tuttle, Majesty Scott, Joy Coleman, Wendy Wells, Cathy Dinas; Bottom—left to right: Paul Burnside, Emperor Hall, Dailen Johnson, La James Blue, Darion Johnson, Paul Burnside, Empire Hall, Isaiah Zoller, Chezriel Goudeau, Eriel Goudeau, Parise Burnside, Zye Wells. Photos by Stephen Brooks, Jr. and collage by Adam L. Turner.
By Steve Brooks
“Everything was dark,” said 9-year-old Cinque Barnes, who was playing Bartimaeus, the blind man healed by Jesus in the Bible story. “I lived my life as a beggar asking travelers for money,” he continued, explaining his situation before Jesus miraculously healed him.
Cinque and 16 other children, ages 4 to 12, were demonstrating some of the spiritual and life lessons –reverence, redemption, healed relationships, forgiveness and others –revealed in the Christian Easter story as Oakland’s Miraculous Foundation Christian Center Church on April 8 presented the play: “Jesus, the Man; the Miracles; and the Messiah,” with children portraying characters from the life of Jesus.
Live scenes were interspersed with clips from Mel Gibson’s movie, “Passion of the Christ” streamed via the church’s video monitors.
These dramatizations can send powerful lessons to many 21st Century Americans who have never been inside a church or any other religious institution. This can be especially true for children and youth. For “non-churched” individuals, Easter may only be about candy rabbits, Easter eggs and a nice dinner.
Other children who played biblical characters in the performance were: Emperor Hall, John, “The Beloved Disciple; Empire Hall, Peter, the disciple and boy with five loaves and two fishes; Jireh Mathews-Johnson, woman at the well; Dailen Johnson, Jesus; Darion Johnson, Luke, the disciple; Nairobi Barnes, woman with the issue of blood; Isaiah Zoller, Pontius Pilate; Precious Burnside, Pontius Pilate’s wife; Paul Burnside, James, the disciple; Zye Wells, woman #1 at the tomb; Parise Burnside, woman #2 at the tomb; Chezriel Goudeau, woman # 3 at the tomb; Eriel Goudeau, woman #4 at the tomb; LaJames Blue, Caiaphas, the High Priest; LeBron Anderson, Judas Iscariot; and Londyn Tuttle, woman who was loosed.
Miraculous Foundation Christian Center Church, located at 1642 Fruitvale Avenue, is Co-Pastored by Dr. Patricia Scott-Brooks and Dr. Jenee Scott.