Tomb bursts into flames during Easter pageant


From Canton, Ohio, US:

Calm thinking and quick action prevented what could have been a disaster at the First Church of the Nazarene after a prop tombstone caught fire during the church’s Easter service.

“We always try to have a special day, as every Christian church does, on Easter Sunday,” Dennis said. “We have a wonderful minister of music and arts, Tim Pitzer, who had done this effect in his previous church in Virginia. He’d done it many times without any incident whatsoever.”

Dennis’ son, Paul, a youth pastor at the church, suffered second-degree burns on his left hand after he grabbed the flaming prop and carried it offstage. The younger Dennis was treated at Mercy Medical Center – but not before he played the drums as scheduled.

“Our friends said he should be wearing a Superman cape,” Mike Dennis said. “But a lot of people did a lot of heroic things.”

Among them were Dan Hanson and Kyle Groves, who helped put out the fire with extinguishers, and Jonathan White, the unflappable lead vocalist seen in the video.

That is quite something to not only keep singing, but hit all your notes with a fire burning beside you.  I remember carrying on one Sunday during a song when a piece of staging fell over behind us (no pyrotechnics at HBC!). You tend to be really focused on singing that you barely notice it, if at all. Of course, the rest of the church were totally distracted while someone rushed up to fix things!

Also, is it an American thing to have a huge drama or musical outreach for Easter and Christmas services? I don’t think this church would have been the only one trying to dazzle and impress on Easter Sunday. I heard there were live camels used at Hillsong, and the Crystal Cathedral (before it filed for bankruptcy) was famed for its elaborate pageants. But where did this approach of big, attractional ministry come from? Isn’t it the opposite to simply preaching Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:22-24)?

You can watch the whole thing unfold below (credit to the speaker straight after the song too with his off the cuff comments)


One reply on “Tomb bursts into flames during Easter pageant”

  1. Hi William,

    Thank you for your offer on the “Rock of ages” youtube clip.

    Could I please ask a favour of you, to send me the sheetmusic.

    Thank you!!

    Michael (Brisbane/Toowoomba Queensland)

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