Thursday, July 7, 2016

Puppets, prophecies, promises kept in Saint Barnabas Anglican Church festival

Saint Barnabas Anglican Church in Picayune, Mississippi presented its second annual production of the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with puppets on Saturday, December 12 to a packed house. Every pew was filled with viewers of all ages as The Very Reverend Father Jonathan J. Filkins welcomed visitors and began the narration of the Christmas story.

Directed by the multitalented Laura Anne Ewald, the program ties together Old Testament prophecies with the fulfillment of those prophecies in the New Testament. Each scripture reading leads to a related song, some by soloists or groups, others by congregational singing. As the various puppets portrayed the parts of the familiar Nativity story, the songs spoke their feelings and described their situations.

This year’s presentation included a number of volunteers from the Pearl River County Christian Home Educators Association as puppeteers and technical support. Guest vocalists joining Ewald and her mother Sharon included Shay LeBlanc, Jamie McDonald and Skip Rigney. The addition of a male voice allowed Ewald to add an additional character, Simeon, and the "Song of Simeon" to the program. Rebecca Jarrell handled the keyboard, allowing Sharon Ewald to perform percussion for the songs. Laura Anne Ewald played guitar and a drum in addition to singing.

Two factors contribute to the approachable nature of the free program. First, the puppets offer an enchanting diversion to children during what otherwise might be an overwhelmingly formal program. Second, the hospitality of Saint Barnabas Anglican Church welcomes everyone of any denomination to share in the fellowship of this Christmas celebration and members of many other congregations were present.

A door collection accepted donations of food and money to benefit the Christian Care Ministries of the church.

Historic Saint Barnabas Anglican Church is located at 201 Norwood Street in Picayune.

Originally appeared 12/14/2015 at

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