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Dawson continues Palm Sunday tradition

| Thursday, April 10, 2014, 5:39 p.m.

Since 1979, a Palm Sunday march has been held in the small Fayette County borough of Dawson.

Churchgoers begin with morning worship at 11 a.m. at the Dawson Baptist Church. They then gather outside and, led by a donkey carrying “Jesus,” walk a short distance to neighboring Philip G. Cochran Memorial United Methodist Church, where the service is concluded.

“We get our palms and go out to the street to follow behind Jesus and the donkey. We have participants who are dressed in clothing of those times. Everyone walks the block to the Cochran church and everyone files into our church where we conclude the morning worship. At each church we sing, say a prayer and the minister speaks. It is very nice. It is very uplifting to see the children and everyone walking together during this sacred time,” said Betsy Haas, Cochran United Methodist Church organist and choir director.

Les Newell provides the donkey each year.

This year, another special event will be held in the borough.

On Sunday evening, the men of Dawson, Vanderbilt and Bryan churches will present an adaptation of a living dramatization of “The Last Supper,” by Ernest K. Emurian. The play is based on Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting. The dramatization opens with the Apostles expressing their shock and concern at Jesus having told them that one of them will betray Him. Each disciple speaks what is in his heart, how he came to be associated with Jesus, what Jesus means to him and then wonders if he might be the betrayer, facing Jesus directly and asking “Is it I?”

“We hadn't done the ‘Last Supper ‘in many years. We are reviving it this year,“ said Haas, who is the organist for the “Last Supper” presentation.

“The play had been performed many times in the past, but not often in recent years. I suggested that we ought to get back to doing it since it went over so well in the years that we did it,” said the Rev. Roger Applebee, who retired 12 years ago.

Fourteen local men participate. There have been multiple rehearsals but most of the men have acted in the play nine or 10 times before. The cast members are Eugene Lint as Leonardo da Vinci, Terry Wilson as Nathaniel, Marty Riggin as James, Richard Loughman as Philip, Jeffery Ott as James The Lesser, Ron Addis as Simon The Zealot, John Anderson as Andrew, Jay Whipkey as Thaddeus, Richard Husband as Simon Peter, John Murtland as Matthew, Edward Sladky as Thomas, Richard Zelenka as Judas Iscariot, Doug Gardner as John and Eric Bachinski as Jesus. Applebee is the narrator.

The public is encouraged to attend this presentation. There is no charge.

Other events of Holy Week in Dawson include a children's banner musical at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and a Maundy Thursday Holy Communion service at 7 p.m., both at Cochran United Methodist Church.

Good Friday service will be held at 7 p.m. at Vanderbilt United Methodist Church.

Easter Sunday Sunrise Service is at 7 a.m. at Cochran United Methodist Church followed by breakfast in the social room. Easter services will be held at 9 a.m. at Vanderbilt United Methodist Church and at 10:30 a.m. at Cochran United Methodist Church.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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