The women take their seats on stage and spend the next hour introducing themselves, explaining their connections with Jesus.
There’s Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist; Mary, the mother of Jesus; the Samaritan woman Photini, known as the woman at the well; Vericonia, the woman with the issue of blood who is healed simply by touching the hem of Jesus’ robe; Mary, wife of Clopas; Mary of Bethany; and Mary of Magdala.
Seven women from the Holy Bible, all followers of Jesus Christ.
“From my standpoint, God put us all together,” said Deborah Holstine, who portrays Mary of Magdala. “He put us at the right place at the right time.”
“The Women of the Passion” is a dramatic play performed as a ministry of Tabernacle United Methodist Church on Brannon Stand Road in Taylor. The seven biblical women are portrayed through monologues and music. The play has been performed since last year and has moved beyond the walls of its home church. On Sunday, March 17, it will be performed at Southside Baptist Church in Dothan at 6 p.m. On March 29, it will be back at Tabernacle for a 6 p.m. performance. But the performers will also travel to Knoxville, Tenn., and Mississippi to perform the play, which features original dialogue written by Holstine.
“Our goal is to expose people to Jesus in a way that they will see him as a personal friend and savior,” Holstine said.
Along with Holstine, the cast includes Cindy Roth, June Hunt, Becky Hunt, Vanessa Adkinson, Karin Woodbury and Connie Ricci.
The music featured in the play is all previously recorded Christian music except for a song called “The Flower,” which is set to the music of Bette Midler’s “The Rose” but with original words by cast member Ricci, who portrays Mary, wife of Clopas.
“In 2000, I was watching TV and all of sudden these words came to me,” Ricci said of the lyrics. “So I got up and I wrote them down. There was no thought on my part; that was just a flow from God. So, I don’t take credit for them. I give God the glory.”
Twelve years later, the lyrics fit into the Tabernacle production, and Ricci feels that maybe this is what the song was intended for all along. Ricci said she hopes people who see the production will feel closer to God as a result.
“I hope they will take away a touch of God,” she said. “We are his instruments.”
Karin Woodbury began performing “The Women of the Passion” after she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and received more than six weeks of radiation treatments. Woodbury is now in remission and portrays Vericonia, the woman with the issue of blood. Woodbury relates to the biblical woman and feels when she tells Vericonia’s story, she is in a way telling her own story.
“It came at just the right time for me,” Woodbury said. “I just believe God has put me in this position for a reason – all of us, I think he has – but it’s been a healing for me, honestly.”