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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The sound of music

South Carolina youth take to the stage

“For years I have served you faithfully ... and never have you so much as given me a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken!"

Doesn't sound like the prodigal son's brother, does it? But it does to the youth who attended the music camp sponsored by Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Columbia, S.C.

Jim Johnson, Ebenezer's minister of music, writes an original musical/drama every year. In July he assembles campers ages 6-18 to learn the production in four days.

This year's musical was The Parable Train. Through music and dialogue, the story takes "riders" to such places as the road to Jericho, the pasture of the lost sheep and the farm of the prodigal son. The musical styles include blues, rap and opera. Older campers work puppets that serve as "commentators."

Parents and other parishioners gather on the camp's closing night to enjoy the production. Johnson's witty dialogue keeps the audience laughing. Many identify with the updated characters. The "Good Samaritan" characters included a mayor who refers the injured man to the Salvation Army and a busy pastor who offers to include the man on a prayer chain. A "Hell's Angels" biker is the "neighbor" who finally takes the man to the hospital.

This is the seventh summer that Ebenezer has sponsored the camp at Kinard Conference and Retreat Center in Leesville, S.C. This year's 65 participants not only learned music and script, they also participated in camp activities such as swimming and crafts. Daily Bible studies and classes underscored the parables lifted up in the production.


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