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Posted at 04:43 PM ET, 12/05/2011

Marvin Sapp, the Winans star in Evangel’s Christmas Celebration 2011

After two decades of hosting productions featuring live animals, special effects and a large cast of actors, Evangel Cathedralunveiled Christmas Celebration 2011 that is more of a sober reflection of the troubling realities of today.

The Evangel Cathedral church performing their Christmas Celebration 2011. (Hamil R. Harris - The Washington Post )
Gone was the Rolls Royce used in previous productions. Added was a graphic scene of Jesus being bloodied by his captors to show man’s struggle between good and evil, more graphic and disturbing than previous shows. Many were moved to tears.

“We wanted everybody have the impact of not just Jesus being born but the life of him,” said Minister Rhonda Belt, who has directed the production for the last decade. “We added more to the script so that people could see a good visual of what he did for everyone. You can that the see the cast is heavily involved and you can see too that it touches their heart.”

The production also features nine major gospel recording artists including Marvin Sapp, Vickie Winans, Tye Tribbett, BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond and Beverly Crawford. The play opens with several hundred dancing and singing in a snow-capped town square during colonial times.
Gospel artist Marvin Sapp on faith after wife's death. (The Washington Post)

“God came to give us life and more abundantly. The first part of the pageant is great because it has the kids not just singing James Cleveland songs but everything, Motown, the Jackson 5” Hammond said.

The second act shifts to Jesus and his battle against evil. He is arrested, beaten and put to death on the cross.

Evangel has hosted massive productions for more than two decades. Bishop Don Meares, the church’s pastor, and Elder Kevin Matthews, the play’s executive producers, said the graphic scene of Jesus dying on the cross goes to heart of the Christmas story.

“The greatest gift that is given to us is God sending his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins,” Matthews said. “None of us are perfect and that is why God sent his son.”
The Winans, BeBe and CeCe performing with Donnie McClurkin and Tye Tribbet at Evangel Cathedral. (Hamil R. Harris - The Washington Post)

Upcoming shows are Dec. 8, noon, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 9th 5 p.m.; Dec. 15th noon, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 16, 5 p.m.

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By  |  04:43 PM ET, 12/05/2011

Categories:  Hamil R. Harris, Faith

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