Community members from Spokane Valley and the surrounding area were treated to the return of Journey to the Cross, an interactive, immersive outdoor walkthrough event held on Easter weekend. Spokane Valley Church hosted the event from Friday, April 15, to Sunday, April 17. More than 2,640 guests attended this year. It was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were so blessed to see the community return to Spokane Valley Church for this special weekend,” said Karla Kendall, event organizer. “We had so many people tell us how much they had missed the event and were excited to see it again.”
Spokane began performing Journey to the Cross in 2008. It is based on a script written by Mark Logan, manager of the Adventist Book Center in Spokane. The program features more than 240 actors, more than 65 support staff and more than 50 musicians that provide entertainment in the church sanctuary while the tour groups wait for their reserved time.
Once a group begins the tour, a pair of Roman soldiers pound on the city gate announcing their arrival. The tour group is immediately caught up in the wedding feast where Jesus performs His first miracle. The walkthrough event is designed so each tour group experiences the action, with four central characters: Jesus, John, James and Peter.
“We want each group to feel a connection to the characters,” said Kendall. “When they experience each scene with the same main actors, they begin to feel that they know them. It makes the experience seem so much more real.”
The walkthrough had eight individual core groups that would cycle through with tour groups.
“There are Easter programs that are set on a stage and the characters move throughout the auditorium,” said Kendall, “but for Journey to the Cross, we wanted something different. It makes it special in that we can interact with the audience in a way that just wouldn’t be possible on a stage.”
At the end of the program, tour groups are offered an opportunity to have a cast member pray with them. There are refreshments offered and tour groups can provide feedback on the program.
One participant wrote, “The entirety of Journey to the Cross was powerful and moving. Thank you for offering this remarkable and spiritual experience. We will be back. Thank you!”
Another participant wrote, “I appreciate the way you make it realistic for our younger children. It always provides great questions on the way home. Keep it up. Thank you! You are a real blessing to the community.”
“I’ve heard about this for years,” said a guest. “I finally came. It exceeded all my expectations. The strong acting and story and being fully immersed gave me all the emotions. I talked my family and parents into coming, and we all had such a spiritual experience. This is such an amazing ministry!”