By Monica Velazquez --
UMHB’s 84th annual Easter Pageant was on April 5, with three different show times for campus audiences as well as the public, and it is now streamed online.
The Easter Pageant focuses on moments in the gospel and includes Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper and Christ’s Trial, and it depicts Christ’s crucifixion, death and resurrection.
The tradition of the Easter Pageant started at UMHB in 1940, when it was held during the afternoon of Easter Sunday. At that time, all the roles in the play were performed by women, because UMHB was a women’s university at that time.
Alumnus Mike McCarthy started off as the Dean of Student Leadership and Engagement at UMHB. Now, he is also Assistant Manager of Campus Activities, and he is the staff advisor for Easter Pageant. He works with the students who are selected for different roles.
“I was never a part of Easter Pageant during my time as a student because I worked,” McCarthy said. “And one of the first roles you get is being in the crowd and having to yell terrible things at Jesus, which I could not bring myself to do.”
The production of Easter Pageant is student-led and features a cast of hundreds of students on campus.
The roles of Jesus and Mary are especially important and that is why UMHB President Randy O’ Rear selects the students. The selection is based on high faith and character.
The selection process for Jesus and Mary happens within a few weeks of the previous Easter Pageant’s conclusion. McCarthy’s role is to work with the director, and the people who are portraying Jesus and Mary, as well as starting the planning process. McCarthy gets to help these chosen students to take on a role of a lifetime and embraces every moment of it. He just wants to be that safe place for these students and help them on their journey with Christ.
“I love getting to see students do things and shine at things that are really hard, but that they can look back on and be like, ‘Wow I cannot believe I did that.’ The ability to just walk next to them almost as a coach helping them overcome obstacles is amazing!” emphasized McCarthy.
Katy Melton, a junior at UMHB pursuing a double major in social work and Spanish, was chosen to be the director of the 2023 Easter Pageant. She has been a part of the Easter Pageant every year but was still surprised when President O’ Rear called her to his office. Melton had a lot on her hands and the role of director has taught her more.
“I have learned how to delegate my time and listen to others’ advice closely,” Melton said.
She also shared that her role has helped her become closer to God and it has also shown her how to connect with God in a different way.
“This role has helped me just love people and understand that when there are times I may feel close to God that faith is more than just a feeling,” she said.
Melton overall loves the experience she has had as the director. Her advice to the next director is to be patient, love people and most of all, love God.
Angela Bowers is a senior at UMHB pursuing a Transformational Development major. This will be her second year in the Easter pageant.
She started out as a crowds person but this year is a money changer and crowds person. Bowers shared her reasoning on why she joined the Easter Pageant by saying;
“It was truly such a life changing experience because I was able to watch the story of Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection. I just remember watching the pageant and seeing the Lord’s love throughout it all.
During that time in my life, I was living more like a fan of Jesus rather than a follower. The Easter pageant challenged me to grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord and truly live my life for him,” emphasized Bowers.
The Easter pageant is an event that allows students to fall in love with Christ all over again and to understand the sacrifice he had to make to save all of mankind.
“Easter pageant is important to me because it has truly helped my relationship with the Lord to grow," Bowers said. "It has also allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the Gospel, as well as a deeper relationship with the Lord. It has also been such an amazing and fun way to meet new people,” shared Bowers.
The Easter Pageant is a huge project that allows students to share the good news of Jesus Christ. In this process students are given the chance to truly gain a connection with Christ and share it with the entirety of the community.
Photo by Allyson Hinkle/TheBells
Senior business major Nick McDaniel portrays Jesus during the 84th annual Easter Pageant. During the beginning scene a family brings their dying child to the Savior to be saved, and in the above photo Jesus looks towards the parents as he is about to resurrect their child. In this scene Jesus shows how he is glorious because of his faith in God.