Updated Resurrection story one for the courts

  • April 4, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - Using her imagination and passion for the truth, Toronto-based author Claudette Francis takes the story of Christ’s resurrection to the courtroom in a fast-paced drama meant to inspire.

Having sold 700 copies since its first publication in 2006, Francis was surprised when a reader approached her with the offer to create a study guide and workbook free of charge. The reason? To help others delve deeper into the mystery of the Resurrection.

“I enjoyed the fact that Claudette’s book put (the story of the Resurrection) in common language,” said Fran Richardson, creator of the study guide that will now accompany The Mystery of the Resurrection: an inspirational drama on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The fact that she put it in plain form, it helps you think about the concept of Easter in a different way.”

The drama uses 12 scenes to unfold the testimonies of Mary Magdalene, the Apostles and other “high profile star witnesses” in the setting of a courtroom. In the final scene, a jury presents the final verdict on whether or not Christ was resurrected.

Richardson, who has a diploma in lay ministry and has been pursuing a Masters in Theology at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, approached Francis last year with a few small suggested changes and the offer to write the workbook.

“It’s a hobby,” Richardson explains. “I always wanted to do something like this.”

Although Francis originally created the drama as a teaching tool for children, Richardson, an Anglican, was impressed that Francis’ drama transcends age and Christian differences.

“It’s an excellent teaching tool,” she said. “It’s very Christian, but interdenominational.”

The study guide and workbook, a 44-page booklet with plenty of writing space, asks questions that often require the reader to refer back to Scripture. Richardson hopes people will use the drama and the workbook in church study groups or simply for personal study. Any profit made from the workbooks could go directly to Francis’ scholarship fund, Richardson added.

In March, Francis decided to create a college scholarship fund whereby $1 from every book sale will be put aside for children with special needs. Francis has not yet decided whether to administer the scholarship herself or if she will team up with the University of Toronto or the University of St. Michael’s College.

“My real passion is to help children spiritually,” Francis says. “And acting out biblical stories played a big part in my own religious formation.”

Francis’ love of children, the church and writing began in her birth country of Guyana. She said drama was a popular form of teaching, and as a child she often took part in Gospel dramatizations. Later, as a teacher, the drama in her blood continued to flow, and she adapted stories into plays for her own students.

Francis arrived in Canada in 1969, and retired as a full-time teacher in 2001.

When asked why she chose to focus on the Resurrection in what she considers her greatest work, she said it was a means of evangelizing the most important aspect of the Christian faith.

“It’s the Resurrection that proves without a doubt that Jesus is God,” she said. “Jesus raised people from the dead, but they had to die a second time whereas Jesus resurrected and did not die again. That is vital to my understanding of who Jesus is.”

She is currently developing a junior version of The Mystery of the Resurrection for children below the Grade 6 level.

For more information on the book, call (416) 604-8946.

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