Corps creatively casts Christmas

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Merced Corps develops unique pageant.

by Hannah Violette – 

The life of a small corps can be very different than that of a large corps. Some of these differences are positive: deeper relationships between corps members, more opportunities for in-depth service, and an increased sense of ownership are just a few of the benefits a small corps enjoys. There are, however, challenges—lack of program participants being one. This is especially noticeable during the holiday season, when youth programs often come to a screeching halt in favor of running the Christmas kettle campaign.

Small numbers, limited time, overpacked schedules—this called for creativity at the Merced Corps. Having purchased an “instant Christmas pageant,” youth director/kettle coordinator Scot Violette refused to cancel the normally suspended youth night and has turned his youth group into the newest off-Broadway troupe. Everything is pre-recorded; actors only have to pantomime to the soundtrack. Since we don’t have enough for a live cast, Scot is filming everything, with each child playing two, three, or more characters.

Because everything is pre-recorded, there are no lines to memorize. The music is done live on stage between film segments, involving cast and congregation. Scot schedules shooting time between community events and is involving the office staff, Home League, and even volunteers in cameo roles in this epic pantomime production. The entire corps is pitching in to produce a non-traditional Christmas pageant.

The debut screening will be during the Christmas Eve service, when the entire congregation will enjoy watching each other act out the Christmas story together, deepening relationships between young and old, and creating a memory that everyone will carry with them for a long time to come.

(DVDs will be available for a donation to the Merced World Services goal.)

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