The Bethel Baptist Missionary Church under the leadership of former FAMU trustee member the Rev. R.B. Holmes, held its Collegiate and Young Adult Extravaganza over the weekend.
The theme for this year was “Faith Ain’t Genetic.”
The collegiate ministry, led by president Dana Brown, put on a show that inspired and touched hearts. One being Barbara Rhodes, who said, “This is the best place for them (youth), we want to make sure they do everything they need to at church because it’s the safest place for them.”
Youth of all ages participated, opening the event with prayer and song.
Thereafter the production began with a monologue to transport the audience to the scene in which the theme of the weekend played out.
College students from Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College all came together using the art of drama.
Starting from a grandmother’s kitchen, then to her funeral and ending in a church service that so moves the “Successful Man” (main character), played by Rashard Gardner to dedicate himself to something bigger than who he presumed he was.
This man had layers; heartbroken from church hurt, arrogant because of his accomplishments, and broken by the passing of his beloved “GMommy.” It was Tyler Perry good and the director and writer made sure of it.
But why “Faith Ain’t Genetic?”
The character seemed to loathe the beliefs of his grandmother because of his past. Justifying the theme that just because one person has faith in something, does not mean another can relate or identify with them.
“It started off with wanting to entice young people to come to church. We tried to figure out what stopped them from coming to church and one of the main topics we talked about was church hurt … that’s where the spark came from and it just flowed,” said playwright KeTurah Poole.
The message was one aspect of the production but the production in itself seemed as if it was a major undertaking. There was a dance number to well-known gospel artist JJ Hairston as well as musical numbers.
“Both of us are very visionary people, we watch a lot of plays and TV shows and we think creatively, so we were trying to see how we can get a lot of talents into one production,” said director Courtney Jackson.
The play brought much laughter to the audience with cynical lines, obnoxious yet familiar funeral behaviors and the genuine family actions that most could relate to.
Although the production came together very well, Jackson wants people to know it wasn’t by any means easy.
“It was a lot of hard work. People gave up their Saturdays to sit at the church for two hours in the evening, not the morning,” said Jackson.
When it comes to what to expect for next year’s extravaganza, it’s a mystery, but the collegiate leaders are working to make sure they draw more young people to church because “Faith Ain’t Genetic.”