Methodist Church

Ten-yearly Passion Play continues 377-year-old tradition

OBERAMMERGAU (Bavaria, Germany) – In 1633, a German village vowed to put on a play about Jesus every 10 years if God rid it of the plague. On May 15 this year, the inhabitants of Oberammergau made good on that promise once again.

The 2010 version of the “Passion Play” keeps alive the tradition that only those born in the Bavarian village, resident for 20 years, or married to a villager for 10 years, can take part.

More than 2,000 of the village’s 5,200 inhabitants act, sing, play in the orchestra, or work backstage. is means that once a decade, for about a year, normal life in Oberammergau is suspended.

Organisers hope to match the 500,000 visitor-mark set in 2000, although the recession is affecting the ticket sales.

To add some biblical authencity for the five-and-a-half hour play, which plays five times a week until Oct 3, many of the men grow beards and long hair.

With many village inhabitants involved, people are forced to take time out of their day jobs for rehearsals, which began last November. One actress playing Mary Magdalene is an airline stewardess, while another Mary, Jesus’ mother, works in a village gift shop.

The play begins with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, covers His betrayal by Judas Iscariot, His trial by Jewish elders, His crucifixion and resurrection, all in a purpose-built theatre partly open to the elements.

The action, in German and some Hebrew, is complemented by a 50-strong choir, all in white robes, and by “tableaux vivants” – scenes from the Old Testament with actors remaining completely static – accompanied by music.

Except for Christian Stueckl, 48, who is the Director of Munich Volkstheater and Oberammergau-born and bred, hardly any professionals are involved. – CNS.



Preaching Point opens in Murdoch varsity in Perth

PERTH – Immanuel Methodist Church (IMC) in Perth, Western Australia has launched a preaching point in Murdoch University to reach out to the students there and families living in the surrounding suburbs. Many Singapore and Malaysian students study at tertiary institutions in Perth.

The Murdoch Preaching Point was also set up to cater to the growing number of worshippers at IMC. It was commissioned on Feb 7 this year, almost a year after the second English service at IMC was started on Feb 3, 2009.

Currently, more than 70 worshippers attend the worship service held at the Murdoch University Worship Centre. IMS is targeting for 100 worshippers by the end of this year and hope to establish a church by then. – Methodist News, Newsletter of the Chinese Methodist Church in Australia.


Vatican names new ecumenical leader

LAKE JUNALUSKA (North Carolina) – Following the retirement of Cardinal Walter Kasper on June 13, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Kurt Koch, Bishop of the Diocese Basel, Switzerland, as the new President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (PCPCU).

Bishop Koch is the author of at All May Be One: Ecumenical Perspective. The publication represents an excellent summary of the present state of ecumenical dialogue and relations from the perspective of the Catholic Church.

The World Methodist Council looks forward to a continuing, rich experience with the Pontifical Council under Bishop Koch’s leadership as it did under the leadership of Cardinal Kasper. – World Methodist Council First Friday Letter.