Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: “The disciples” March 27, 2015

Portraits # 14 & 15: The cast from The Last Supper Drama

The cast of the 2012 The Last Supper Drama poses like the Leonardo da Vinci painting.

The cast of the 2012 The Last Supper Drama poses like the Leonardo da Vinci painting.

For 53 years, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Wheeling Township, rural Faribault, has presented The Last Supper Drama.

It’s a remarkable way to begin Holy Week in the darkness of this aged country church. Here actors portraying Jesus’ disciples gather for the final meal with their Lord in a scene straight from Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper. Only Christ is missing, replaced by an empty chair.

Judas, in the foreground, is about to betray Jesus with 30 pieces of silver. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.

Judas, in the foreground, is about to betray Jesus with 30 pieces of silver. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.

The drama was penned by long ago pastor, the Rev. Walter Rasche. Only the actors change in the performance that features each disciple speaking about his relationship with Christ.

It is powerful and moving, and a tribute to a congregation which has sustained this Holy Week tradition for more than five decades.

This year’s 53rd drama will be presented at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 29, in the church located at 19086 Jacobs Avenue, which is east of Faribault along Rice County Road 24. Food and fellowship follow.


This is part of a series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: “The disciples””

  1. Sue Ready Says:

    What a testimony to St. Johns to be in their 53 rd year sharing the message of Holy Week. It tells me people still have a spiritual hunger for the word of the Lord as we try to make some sense of the chaos we live in. And in the solace of prayer let us remember all those who died recently in the German airliner that crashed in the Alps.
    Thanks for providing readers each Friday with Minnesota Faces updates. You have keen insight into the pulse of your community, Audrey.

    • I am beyond impressed with this long-standing tradition of presenting God’s Word via an age-old drama. I appreciate your assessment and it’s encouraging.

      Prayer is something so needed in today’s world, as it has always been.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    That is quite a long-standing tradition.

  3. I love “living scenes” like that – so cool. I would enjoy that for sure. I’ve always thought that the Passion play at Oberammergau in Germany would be amazing to attend – but since it’s only every 10 years, it takes a bit of planning ahead!!

  4. Thread crazy Says:

    How lucky we are to live in America and be able to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of our Lord in the matter that we do. We are truly blessed as many people in this world do not have that privilege.

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    Great shots of this and it brings back memories of when our church in Pennsylvania did it. Our church here also does one but I have never been here when they have performed it.

    • I really like when churches present dramas like this that impress the message visually upon attendees. Tomorrow Randy and I are helping with The Journey of the Cross event at our church. Randy will role play a temple worker and I will assist with coin rubbings (as a reminder of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus). Participants travel from station to station with passports and learn about the events of Holy Week through Easter. There will be a whipping demonstration, food tasting, hammering nails into wood and more. It’s sure to be memorable.

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