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In the event you Google “Final Supper drama,” you get more than 15 million results in lower than a second. And the primary textual content link listed is West Des Moines United Methodist Church. How can that be? Simple: In this digital age, Google notices when one church has been doing one thing right. 

Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Final Supper” in 1494 to embellish a church wall in Milan, Italy. It captures the moods of the apostles just after Jesus stated: “One in every of you’ll betray me.”

Over the past 50 years, the West Des Moines church has introduced the dwelling dramatization of da Vinci’s portray 426 occasions, including three exhibits this yr.

The public is invited to a fiftieth anniversary performance on Holy Thursday this week in West Des Moines.

How the drama began

Within the scorching summer time of 1969, I was fortunate to hitch four different men from WDMUMC at the quadrennial conference of Methodist Males at Purdue College.

We had no plans to get involved in a spiritual drama — and positively no concept of organizing one in our personal church.

But on Sunday morning before we headed house, we saw the late Rev. Ernest Emurian’s forged from Arlington, Virginia, current the drama. We took communion, then stood up and sang the Lord’s Prayer.

All of us agreed it was one of the crucial inspiring, shifting experiences we’d ever had. Earlier than we have been five miles from Purdue we have been discussing how we’d deliver such a dramatic experience to our own church.

Over 5 many years, the forged has included men from many walks of life. They, just like the disciples, are individuals of numerous backgrounds, occupations and pursuits, all joined together by a standard bond — the church.

The dwelling drama makes it potential to realize a new grasp of the disciples, and their relationship to Christianity, and to remind us of the range of those that comply with him.

The drama was first introduced on Maundy Thursday, also referred to as Holy Thursday, in 1970. A crowd of seven hundred guests overflowed the primary session and about 300 waited downstairs in fellowship corridor for a repeat performance.

Iowa Methodist Bishop James Thomas was there. He asked the troupe to convey the drama to the 1970 annual conference in Veterans Memorial Auditorium in downtown Des Moines. 

Through the years, our forged and crew have introduced the drama in tons of of churches and lots of retirement houses. It was featured in a one-hour TV particular that aired on KCCI-TV during Easter week in 1978 and 1979, and on “Catch the Spirit,” a national TV program of…