How to Produce a Children’s Passion Play

Covid-19 continues to take its toll on every aspect of life. On December 20, 2020, something remarkable happened. The children of All Angels’ Church produced and premiered their first video Christmas pageant ever. Time stood still as all watched from all over. We struggled to put words to the grief, joy, loss, excitement, and delight that were stirred up. One viewer simply chatted in: holy ground. Indeed it was.

The Christmas Pageant was barely finished before Erin Moughon-Smith and I began dreaming up a Children’s Passion Play. Here’s what you need to know:

WHAT ROLE DOES MY CHILD HAVE? Always a good place to start. Mary Ellen is confirming parts with families and you can find the cast list here .

HOW INDEPENDENT CAN MY CHILD BE IN PULLING THIS OFF? Another really great question. The 4/5th graders will likely be very independent in their video recording of their own lines. I bet younger kids need to be filmed by a parent. The file naming and uploading probably needs a parents’ touch.

WHEN WILL THE REAL PRODUCTION CRUNCH TIME BE FOR FAMILIES? Kids have been and will continue to rehearse on Sundays on 2/28 and 3/7. Best to aim for recording and uploading March 1 through March 11. We may need to request a redo or two over the March 12-14 weekend. Serious video editing crunch happens March 13 through March 27 with our Passion Play premiering during the Palm Sunday service on March 28, 2021.

OK. I’M GETTING MY HEAD AROUND THIS. Where do you land? A. We’re ready; hope we don’t screw up. B. We need an easier part. C. We actually can’t participate this time. Just shoot me line in the event of B or C.


  1. Use your “process” to grasp which scenes/lines need recording. 4/5th grade kids are learning this with Erin in Sunday School. Others will read the script and highlight their lines and scenes. Many characters don’t speak but require some action scenes. The Cast list has a table indicating which scenes contain action and/or lines for the various characters to record. Scripts have been both emailed to you and a hard copy went in the mail today, Thursday, 2/25/21. Complete Passion Play Script here (with the two pages that were previously missing).
  2. Video using your phone in widescreen mode. Use only blank backrounds. Reduce room noise. No special effects, special lighting.
  3. You may choose to record whole scenes leaving blank spaces in between where another character is speaking. Or you may record each line separately.
  4. Title your video files: scene#_character_line# So Peter’s line on the bottom of page 4 would be titled 2_Peter_46
  5. Costumes-lots of bathrobes, head thingies. Have fun.
  6. Upload to scene folders, ex Scene 1, Scene 2. If this is too hard, upload to Passion General folder and I will migrate the files for you.


Sunday, 2/28 9:20-10:00 Kids attend Children’s Worship for rehearsal with Mary Ellen and Erin. Use regular CW link. 11:30 4/5th grade attend SS with Erin for their rehearsal

Sunday, 3/7 9:20-10:00 Kids attend Children’s Worship for rehearsal with Mary Ellen and Erin. Use regular CW link. 11:30 4/5th grade attend SS with Erin for their rehearsal

March 1 through March 11- children should be videoing their parts, naming files and uploading.

March 11th Upload deadline

March 12-14th-some redos may be requested

March 13-27 The production team gratefully accepts takeout deliveries as they pound away on editing and producing. Half LOL.

March 28th; The Children’ Passion Play premiers during the Palm Sunday Sunday livestream service.

Summer Campership Applications Are Open

January 12, 2021

Dear All Angels’ Families,

Maybe we don’t know what the summer will bring, but let’s hope! In this letter, you will find:

  • What is the All Angels’ Farm Summer Campership Fund?
  • How do I access a campership for my children?
  • Who qualifies to receive a campership?
Continue reading “Summer Campership Applications Are Open”

All Angels’ Parents: A 2020 Pageant Toolkit

November 18, 2020

The children of All Angels’ Church will not be bested by a pandemic. A pageant on zoom, nicknamed “Zageant” is underway. Below parents can access information and instructions for supporting their child’s participation in the 2020 Zageant.

Need to get in the mood? Check out our one minute version of the 2018 Christmas Pageant
Continue reading “All Angels’ Parents: A 2020 Pageant Toolkit”

Children & Youth Ministry Update: October 2020

Jesus seemed keen on kingdom illustrations involving children and inviting children to come near. “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of God.” Mt 18:3. “…For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Mt. 19:14. We aren’t sure if Jesus was referencing an idolized innocent and eager child or if he was naming a disenfranchised population segment in a last shall be first kind-of-thing.  

Even as we figure out what Jesus meant, it’s safe to say that having children among us is part of how God sees his kingdom unfolding. We don’t champion an idolized, prototypical child;  at All Angels’ children are seen and heard. They’re messy, noisy, full of laughter and sometimes tears. We love finding ways children lead us

into worship. Erin Moughon-Smith is bringing her considerable talent as a drama teacher in NYC public schools to the pageant production this year.  We can’t have a live production with 200 of us squeezed into the sanctuary.  But children will tell the nativity story in their unique way, covid style: a Zoom pageant!

Continue reading “Children & Youth Ministry Update: October 2020”

C&Y Update 8.25.20: Different Year, Age Old Approach

Few things make me happier than a good idea. Sign me up for a brainstorming session any day! I love the process of bouncing ideas around, seeing if they will work, and building action plans around them (yes, Intellection does rank top 5 in my Strenghtsfinder).

Continue reading “C&Y Update 8.25.20: Different Year, Age Old Approach”

Brings A Smile to My Face

Do you need a smile? Consider these backstories producing a few of my recent smiles:

Chatting with Lina recently and she told me how much she loves Nighttime Prayer with Lucy and the two youth young women (Abby and Serena)

ME: what do you love about it?

LINA: sometimes we click on links to listen to daily examens on different subjects.  Last night we listened to one about aging and the lady said ‘perhaps you feel you are coming to end of your life…’  We all shouted we hope not!

Continue reading “Brings A Smile to My Face”

Real Talk with Mary Ellen: The Bottom Line

I know I’m in good company; you know, those of us who think of the thing they wish they had said but an hour later or a day later!  That’s me this week.  I had a blast getting to preach the sermon on Sunday. AND my Enneagram “1”-ness is playing a familiar tune: “I wished I’d said…”

I preached about our identity as sisters and brothers of Jesus closely intertwined with but superseding family, racial, and social identity. I talked about how we are formed and informed by the influences or voices, if you will, surrounding us.  New Yorkers now believe we are tough, smart, disciplined and loving because the Governor told us that every day for 108 days!  We believe what we hear.  And unfortunately, if we tell ourselves lies, we tend to believe those too.

Continue reading “Real Talk with Mary Ellen: The Bottom Line”