This article was written in the Press of Atlantic City Newspaper. The original article can be found here: goo.gl/DQfUI
Somers Point church celebrates Easter with a twist
By CAITLIN HONAN, Staff Writer | Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:01 am
For years, Easter Sunday services at the New Covenant Community Church in Somers Point have been run traditionally.
But Brendon Wilson, the church’s newest lead pastor, hopes to broaden the perception of the holiday, potentially leaving churchgoers on the edge of their seats.
“It’s going to be a service not one wants to miss,” he said. “It’s not another Easter service.”
Nashville-based biblical investigator and illusionist Brock Gill will visit both the Good Friday and Easter morning services to put on a 40-minute visual performance of stunts and ambitious illusions – providing the church with the most unique presentation for Easter in years, Wilson said.
“(Brock’s) work is obviously of the highest caliber of illusion,” Wilson said. “He’s performed on all the national Christian stages – festivals, outreach organizations. He’s traveled around the world.”
The Christian holiday of Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion, is the inspiration for Gill’s appearance, hoping to display Easter as the greatest illusion.
The illusionist is known for his role as lead investigator on a BBC and Discovery Channel documentary called “The Miracles of Jesus.” According to the performer’s website, the project followed Gill as he investigated the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible, traveling through Israel and Malta.
“He’s pretty incredible in what he does,” Wilson said. “He will share his work and why he believes in Jesus Christ.”
The news of the performer has been received well among church members; many are excited to witness the unusual performance.
Wilson aired a video clip of Gill’s work to ministry leaders in preparation for the guest, leaving Debbie Feliciano-Santiago – who runs the church’s Safe Haven Cafe with her husband, Jabiel – in awe.
“I was like, ‘Wow, no more cookie cutter service,'” she said.
Although the church administrator felt that there is nothing wrong with the basic, traditional service, she predicted that some people could be turned off by the same experience each year.
“Sometimes it’s good to step outside the box,” she said. “We know the story (of Easter), but now it’s something new, something fresh. It’s crossing the boundary.”
Gill, a member of Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, became friends with Wilson through various church relationships, and after seeing him in Phoenix, Ariz., Wilson knew he would be a great addition to his first Easter service at New Covenant.
The illusionist’s church also provided significant Hurricane Sandy response efforts to the South Jersey area, making Gill’s first performance in Somers Point a follow-up to the aid.
Wilson, who moved to the area from Arizona in August, hopes the eye-opening service will bring out those who have been uninterested in church.
“They are looking for something different,” he said. “and that’s what we are trying to offer this Easter.”
The service and performance is free and open to all, even those unaffiliated with the New Covenant Community Church.
A children’s service also will take place at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and will include a performance by children’s illusionist Rob McEntee, as well as an Easter egg hunt.
Contact Caitlin Honan:
If you go
What: Biblical illusionist Brock Gill visits New Covenant Community Church
When: Good Friday service at 7 p.m. March 29, Easter Sunday services 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. March 31
Where: 701 New Hampshire Ave., Somers Point
How much: Free
More info: See newcovenantcc.net.