LYNDON CENTER, Vt. — A 26-member drama team from Aversboro Road Baptist Church in Garner brought the music of famed hymn writer Fanny Crosby to Vermont in late July, performing before capacity crowds in four locations.
Scores of people filled every seat of Lyndon Center Baptist Church July 28 to hear some of Christendom’s best-loved hymns sung and talked about through dramatic readings in “Fanny Crosby Live.” Amanda Watson, Miss North Carolina 2008, added star power as she sang a solo and then sang with the choir.
Aversboro Road member Dana Christopher, singer and musician who has released her own music CD, used makeup and period costume to portray the blind Fanny Crosby and sing some of her hymns. The drama recreated Fanny Crosby Day, actually celebrated in 1905 to honor the writer. President Grover Cleveland sent a letter of congratulations for that day.
“If people understand the stories behind the songs and some of the miracles that took place, I think they will appreciate the words of the play more,” said Aversboro Road member Tim Stevens, who wrote and directed the play. “It’s another way to proclaim Jesus’ love for everybody,” he said. Stevens, a sports writer for the News and Observer newspaper in Raleigh, has written several other plays.
The production included a small orchestra and sound and light systems to produce a richer performance.
Period costumes fit well alongside the old Lyndon Center Baptist Church’s wood-paneled sanctuary, equipped with a full pipe organ. John Snow, interim pastor of Lyndon Center Baptist Church, was most happy to see just about every seat in the building filled for the performance.
Attendance has declined to around 40 people in recent years, he said, and his mission has been to rebuild it during the year he has served here. Snow is a native New Yorker who pastored a church in the Lancaster, Pa., area for many years.
Local people have told Snow they thought the church was dead. “This event will let people know we’re still alive,” he said. Other teams from North Carolina have worked on the church’s building, another sign of life. A recent Vacation Bible School was attended by 42 children, “a real answer to prayer,” he said.
Aversboro Road member Faye Gardner played keyboard for the performance, but enjoyed talking to local church members and visitors before and after the presentations.
“It’s important to get to know the people,” she said. Gardner learned that many people have had experiences in life similar to those of Crosby and can find comfort in her hymns. “In those hymns they can find encouragement and everybody’s looking for that today,” she said.