Every year on Easter weekend, the North Shore Alliance Church puts on one of the most impressive shows of the year as it depicts the story of Jesus Christ and how he died for the sins of the world.
This past weekend, a record number of people came from miles around to the church at 330 W. Mariana Ave. for "The Passion Experience," a guided tour that took people to witness the words and miracles of Jesus, the Last Supper, the betrayal and sentencing to death by Pontius Pilate, the crucifixion and resurrection.
More than 800 people attended last year, and even more were expected this year as the weather was favorable.
Jessie Beougher (Jesus No. 5) as he rises from the dead during the Passion Experience at the North Shore Alliance Church on Friday.
Guided by shepherds, groups of 25 to 30 took the tour on the boardwalk in the woods behind the church. By 7 p.m. there were two full groups waiting to take in the experience, which lasted about 15 minutes.
And for many it was worth the wait as they saw Jesus, portrayed by five volunteer actors, go through the final days of his life in vivid detail.
"It was a great experience. I go to this church, but it was my first time to this. They were very passionate and it was all very good," said Kari Briggs of Cape Coral, who brought her friends. "I'd go to this again."
Andrea Yates, her husband, Dave, and her son, Zachary, 12 came all the way from Naples to see it and said it was the best Passion Play they have witnessed.
"It was amazing. They brought the passion to life and proclaimed Jesus as our Lord, as God, as human, and our savior," Andrea said.
"I really felt God's word through this. It was amazing. I felt really moved and wanted to do more," Zachary said.
"They witnessed to those who may not know Jesus like we should. Bringing the story together in one setting is a phenomenal way to proclaim Christ is our Lord," Dave said. "The journey was fantastic and we're glad we did it."
The celebration continued Sunday at the church with a worship service as well as a pancake breakfast and Easter egg hunt.