Not your average haunted house

Published 9:46 pm Thursday, October 15, 2009

If you’re looking for a good Halloween scare in the next couple of weeks, Judgment House is not for you.

But if you’re looking for an intense and realistic look at the consequences to life decisions, then head over to First Baptist Church for its annual rendition of the Judgment House production.

The play is a 10-scene walk through drama. A guide leads small groups of 15 to 20 people from scene to scene as the story unfolds. As such, the church has become a set of various stages throughout the building, including heaven and hell.

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This year’s performance will debut Friday at 6:30 p.m. and have shows Saturday and Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. Next weekend, the shows will run again at the same time.

The church has done the Judgment House performances since Youth Pastor Marty Terrell brought students to view a different performance of “Judgment House” at London Bridge Baptist Church in Virginia Beach. He wanted them to witness the powerful drama and gauge whether they would want to perform it.

Fittingly enough, First Baptist has served as an inspiration for another area church to start its own Judgment House series.

“Several of our people went to First Baptist’s performance,” said Tom Potter, pastor of Pinecrest Baptist Church in Portsmouth. “Some of our young adults had gone to see Judgment House and wanted to try it here. It seems to be an effective tool, especially reaching out to young adults and children.”

Potter said it has taken about 150 members of the church to put on their production, which will begin Friday night and last through the next two weekends. From writing to acting and set design, the production has been a mission of the church to reach out to the community.

“It’s a reality story,” Potter said. “The bottom line is we want people to realize the reality of life and the reality of life after death. We are the results of our choices, and this has to do with our students, our young people making the right kinds of choices. This really shows how the greater good can come from the worst situation.”

Potter said he hopes the Suffolk and Portsmouth shows will both be successful in reaching out to their respective communities.

“We’re all in this together,” he said.

For more information and a complete list of performance times, call First Baptist at 539-4152 or Pinecrest Baptist at 488-2191.