Methodist church brings Last Supper to life: Karen Baker’s “Slice of St. Tammany” column for March 28, 2013

On the Christian calendar, today is Holy Thursday, the day that Christians commemorate the gathering of Jesus with his disciples for Passover on the day before he was crucified. The final Passover meal of Jesus and his apostles is traditionally known as the Last Supper.

As part of the solemn remembrance, First United Methodist Church of Slidell will bring “The Last Supper” to life at 7 p.m. Thursday at the church, 433 Erlanger Drive.

The church has performed “The Last Supper” on Holy Thursday since 1980, said associate pastor Tiffanie Lyon, although Katrina destroyed the costumes and the set, and the production was interrupted until last year. Lyon, who is new to the church, said she is looking forward to this “Last Supper.”

“I was amazed at how well done, professional and spiritually powerful it was last year. It was a packed house in our sanctuary and very well-received. We had many visitors from all Christian denominations.”

“The Last Supper” is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the same name, according to Dick Mitchell, who was part of the first cast and now serves as director. “I changed it quite a bit,” when he started directing, Mitchell said.

Originally, the members of the cast could move only their heads and their mouths, remaining seated at the table as Leonardo painted the characters.

When Mitchell took over, “We allowed movement and gestures,” he said. “The disciples can walk around; it makes people come alive.”

Mitchell said “The Last Supper” is powerful because everyone knows their parts very well. “There are distinct personalities and the product is very good. It is very dramatic. … The guys do so well; they are not professional actors. They learn the part and they become the part. It adds a lot of meaning. It is very emotional for the people in it. They are dead serious.”

A character dressed as a Roman centurion acts as the narrator, and each disciple’s speaking part is followed by music.

The drama lasts about an hour, concluding with communion from the table where the performance takes place, Mitchell said.

“Afterward, we talk about what it means to us. It is a very special time.”

Even in one short year, it has become very special to Lyon. “We don’t like to portray it as a ‘performance’ (which implies entertainment),” she said, “but more of a reverent spiritual experience about Jesus’ Last Supper.”

The service is free. For more information, contact First United Methodist Church at http://www.firstumcslidell.org/ or (985) 643-6437.

Golf tournament

Covington will hold a bicentennial charity golf tournament at 10 a.m. on April 8, at Money Hill Golf and Country Club. For information, contact Glenn Harrison at (985) 246-0230.

Rockin’ the Rails concert

The city of Covington kicks off its free Rockin’ the Rails concert series on April 4 with the Pfister Sisters at 5 p.m. at the trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire St., Covington.

The concerts will take place every Thursday in April from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“The concert series encourages those who work in Covington to stop off at the Trailhead at the end of the day and enjoy a free concert, wind down with refreshments available through local nonprofits and support our sponsor so that these events may continue to be free and open to the public,” cultural arts and events manager Aimee Faucheux said.

Scholarships available

The Northshore Kiwanis Club of Mandeville will provide scholarships to graduating Key Club members from Fontainebleau High, Lakeshore High, Mandeville High and Northlake Christian. There will be up to 10 $1,000 scholarships awarded to worthy recipients.

The scholarships will be presented to the Key Club members who have exemplified to the highest degree the basic principles of Key Club — caring and sharing — in their homes, schools, communities and churches. The recipients will be of high moral character and should have achieved excellence in all their endeavors.

The application includes specific instructions and requirements. Applicants must be graduating seniors who intend to enroll in a four-year college or university, or in a community, vocational or technical college. Applicants are required to demonstrate good academic ability by having maintained a grade-point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale. Applicants also must show a spirit for helping others by having been a member of Key Club for at least two years.

Northshore Kiwanis has awarded more than $97,000 in scholarships to local graduating students.

Applications for the scholarships are available from senior guidance counselors or Key Club advisers. All Key Club seniors are encouraged to apply by the deadline on April 5.

For more information, contact Tatem Ruiz-Richard at (504) 458-8120 or tatemrichard
@bellsouth.net.

Karen Baker writes about St. Tammany Parish. She can be reached at sliceoftammany@gmail.com.