Church stages lunchtime dramas over Lent

By Matt Russell

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Churchgoers jumped in their seats Wednesday afternoon at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Rochester as an actor portraying Judas burst out in front of them.

"What have I done?" he said. "I’ve betrayed the best friend I ever had."

Over the past few years, Trinity Lutheran has tried a different approach to preaching the Gospel during Lent.


Performers in costume have acted out scenes reflecting different viewpoints on the Passion of Jesus during lunchtime services on Wednesdays in an attempt to appeal to downtown workers and elderly members of the congregation who prefer to come to church during the daylight hours.

The series has been a success, so the Missouri Synod congregation is bringing it back again this year. The first performance, attended by about 100 people, was Wednesday; the series will continue the next four weeks at 12:10 p.m.

"People seem to enjoy the costume/monologue kind of approach," said the Rev. William Otte. "It’s different from a pastor standing in a pulpit and just talking to them. They get more insight and can identify a little easier with what the people who watched these events happen, what they really felt like as this was all going on."

The noontime services last around a half hour, and the church offers lunch, typically a sandwich and salad, to people afterwards that they can either eat at the church or take with them if they have to get back to work. In addition to the performances, the services also include a reading from Scripture, the Lord’s prayer and hymns.

While the first performance focused on the story of Judas, the next four will focus on the stories of Mary, a Roman soldier, John and Peter.

The performances are also held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Dine and pray

What: Lenten performances of scenes from the Passion of Jesus.


When: 12:10 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 222 Sixth Ave. S.W., Rochester.

For more information, go to

Trinity Lutheran Church

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