Behind Journey to the Cross 

by Kathy Marson

Mark Weir, pastor of the Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, acting the part of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene.
Disciples of Jesus in the upper room scene at Journey to the Cross.  
Mark Weir as Jesus in the Great Commission scene --where the disciples see Jesus for the first time after his death.

Spokane Valley, Wash., April 18, 2013 - The miracles continue for participants of Spokane Valley Adventist Church's sixth production of the outdoor walkthrough event, Journey to the Cross.

Several weeks before the event, Tracie Husted and Stacey Pedersen, directors of the event, make an announcement regarding their urgent need for additional Journey to the Cross cast members. A significant number of long-time cast members moved away last year. Easter fell during Spring Break, which meant additional individuals were out of town or out of country. Needless to say, Tracie and Stacy were facing challenges!

However, that Sabbath, at the beginning of worship service, as they look out into the audience, almost everyone in attendance is already involved. So they asked if they could make the announcement at the end of the service.

During the service, members of the J2C team pray for more cast members. Then sometime during the service, the bishop of the local Mormon Church walks in and sits down. He hears an announcement at the end of the sermon and immediately inquired if members of his congregation could help with Journey. Tracie and Stacey waste no time and assign willing Mormons to the cast list.

As a result, many help with the construction. Others fill out the crowds at various stations along the Journey. A few are roving disciples. This is how Pastor Mark Weir met Brent. “Brent agreed to play “John” in my group of roving disciples” says Weir. “Over the course of Journey, we became better acquainted. I even met his wife and four children. As Brent and I visited, we talked about life, dreams, and specifically about Jesus.”

Although Mormons believe in Jesus, some of their church’s beliefs differ from what the Bible teaches about Jesus. “I had an opportunity to share the Biblical Jesus with Brent,” says Weir. “And incredibly, what Brent and I did (along with all of the cast and crew) over the course of four evenings, was tell and retell HIS story.

“I believe seeds of truth were planted and will bear fruit. We may not immediately see the results of this planting. However, many people are thinking more carefully and convincingly about Jesus,” says Weir. “As I look back on Journey to the Cross, I realize Brent’s story is only one of many incredible stories.”

“The very positive article in the Spokesman-Review newspaper had an interesting consequence. After reading that Sunday morning article, one woman decided to come to Journey, despite her husband’s wish that she not be involved with any church. She went online and got the LAST ticket for Sunday. In her own words, ‘It was meant to be.’”

Thousands of people; hundreds of costumes; uncounted hours of back-breaking work; incredible dedication can hardly quantify the value of Journey. Weir says, “The real essence is the PEOPLE impacted one at a time. As they walk through the scenes of Christ’s life, their hearts become receptive and the Journey is born in them anew. Our efforts were to continue the Journey begun 2000 years ago. Actually, it might be better to say, to continue HIS Story through our reenactment of history. And that is what we as a church family are committed to doing.”

Why did the Mormon Bishop walk into the Valley Church that Saturday? At the Journey to the Cross debriefing one week after the event one of the Mormon’s in attendance says, “Our Bishop was driving down Sullivan Road and saw the sign on the Adventist Church for Journey to the Cross. He felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to stop and go inside. And when he heard of the need he knew why he stopped.

The Spokane Valley Adventist Church began producing Journey to the Cross in 2008. This year around 5000 went through and over 50 people left their contact information to learn more about Jesus. This gift to the Spokane area is now an Easter tradition for many. (Excerpts from the SVAC Newsletter, used by Permission of Mark Weir, Pastor of the Spokane Valley SDA Church)