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New Hope’s Easter Musical Makes Triumphant Return with Record Attendance

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More than 1100 people attended the church’s three performances of “Risen: A Story of Hope” from April 7-9.

After a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Hope church in Fulton, Md., hosted its annual Easter musical “Risen: A Story of Hope” April 7-9. The congregation welcomed its largest audience ever for the event, with more than 1100 attendees enjoying the three performances.

Created by Grammy award-winning composer David Clydesdale, “Risen: A Story of Hope” is an inspiring and immersive retelling of Jesus’ life, from His temptations in the wilderness through His resurrection.

“It’s the best story we can tell and a great time of year to tell it,” said Mike Speegle, New Hope lead pastor. “Without the resurrection, there is no Christian faith, and so it’s a really important time of the year to remind ourselves of that and to celebrate it and share it with other folks.”

The play brought together a dedicated team of more than 70 volunteers as the cast and crew, including many new faces this year. The church said the play helped bring together members who wouldn’t normally cross paths with each other, and allowed them to build positive connections while serving together.

The church hosted the event with the community in mind, encouraging members to invite their friends to attend the performance. However, leaders were careful to emphasize that there were no expectations of attendees, and no pressure to join the church.

Speegle elaborated on the church’s approach: “What we try to do is exceed people’s expectations and also honor where they’re at…We think the story [of Jesus’ death and resurrection] tells itself, and if the story is really as great as we say it is, we ought to treat it as such.”

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