The season of Lent, leading up to Easter, is one of the busiest times of the year for church activities, with musicals, dramas, worship services, and other events held in observance of Jesus' final days, death on the cross, and resurrection.
One of the more unusual activities is the large-scale sand sculptures by Findlay artist Roger Powell, who for the fifth year will create a larger-than-life Bible scene out of sand at Riverside Park in Findlay.
Author Catherine Ritch Guess of North Carolina was so taken by Mr. Powell's creations that she felt inspired to write "The Sandman Series," a three-part series of novels about the Findlay sand sculptures. The second in the series, Let Us Break Bread Together, has just been published.
Mr. Powell will be working on his sand sculptures daily from March 21 until March 26 at Riverside Park, with group singing by the campfire nightly at 7 p.m.
Several sandman-related concerts are scheduled in the Findlay area, including a performance at 6 p.m. March 19 at the Lighthouse; 7 p.m. March 20 at First Presbyterian Church, 2330 South Main St., and 7 p.m. March 21 at Van Buren School, 217 South Main St., Van Buren, Ohio.
A Maundy Thursday Communion service will be held at Riverside Park at 7 p.m. and an Easter Sunrise Service is planned.
Here is a roundup of some other plays, musicals, and special services coming up during Lent and Holy Week:
The Passion of The Christ, special showing of the movie, 6 p.m. today, East Toledo Baptist Church, 807 East Broadway. Free; child care provided. 419-698-2769.
"The Crossing," a dramatic presentation in which the audience moves from scene to scene as a young adult deals with the death of a close friend. Not intended for children. 6 and 8 p.m. today; 8 p.m. Friday, and 6 and 8 p.m. March 19, First Alliance Church, 2201 Monroe St. at Collingwood Boulevard. Tickets are free but required. 419-241-7287.
Lenten Tea, 2 p.m. tomorrow, St. Petri Lutheran Church, 3120 South Byrne Rd., sponsored by Southwest Cluster Lutheran Churches - Faith, St. Petri, and Bethel.
Reflections on Lenten Journey, presented by Friar Randy Kin, 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Our Lady of Consolation Retreat House, 321 Clay St., Carey, Ohio. 419-396-7970.
The Passion of The Christ, special showing of the movie, 7 p.m. Friday, First United Methodist Church, 200 West Second St., Perrysburg.
"Who Do You Say That I Am," Easter drama, 7 p.m. March 19, 6:30 p.m. March 20, Heritage Church of God, 3520 Strayer Rd., Maumee. Free. 419-861-9520.
"Jesus Is Alive" Easter musical drama, 7 p.m. March 19-20 and March 24-26, Dayspring Assembly of God Church, 17360 North Dixie Hwy., Bowling Green. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. nightly. Not recommended for children under 5. Tickets are free. 419-352-0672, or online at www.dayspringassembly.org.
"Journey with Jesus," interactive Easter event depicting Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, trial, and more. Includes Easter egg hunt for children. 1-3 p.m. March 19, Living Faith United Methodist Church, 1240 Columbus St., Holland, Ohio. 419-865-3943.
"Hosannas" and "The Centurion," by Michael Searle, 6 p.m. March 19; 7:15, 8:30, and 11 a.m. March 20 at Zoar Lutheran Church, 314 East Indiana Ave., Perrysburg. 419-874-4346.
Palm Sunday, March 20
"Harvest of Sorrows," Holy Week Cantata, 4 p.m., with members of adult choirs of Augsburg, Bethany, Our Savior, and Reformation Lutheran churches, at Reformation Lutheran Church, 4543 Douglas Rd. Handbell Choir at 3:45 p.m.; signed for hearing impaired. Free.
"He Chose the Nails," sponsored by Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church Nurses Guild, 4 p.m., 2030 Putnam Ave. 419-242-2581.
Palm Sunday Multi-Praise Concert and Tsunami Relief, 6 p.m., featuring The Go Fish Band, the Christian Festival Choir and Orchestra, Everfree Student Ministry of Bedford Community Church, and Captured, Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 1375 Sylvania Ave. Free. 419-478-6012.
Stations of the Cross: A Guided Tour, one-hour tours starting every 10 minutes, presented by St. Luke's Lutheran Church's senior high youth, 6-9 p.m. March 20-23, St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Sterns and Jackman roads, Temperance, Mich. 734-847-8275.
"Who Is This Man" Easter drama, 7 p.m. March 20 and March 25, Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational Christian Church, 5253 Bennett Rd. Tickets are free. 419-478-9755.
Tenebrae Service, from Latin for shadows or darkness, 7 p.m., St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 871 East Boundary, Perrysburg. 419-874-5704.
Maundy Thursday, March 24
Potluck dinner followed by Communion and the Labyrinth Stations, First United Church of Christ, Marblehead. 419-798-4612.
Feast of Friends communal Eucharist and foot-washing, 7 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, One Trinity Plaza, Toledo.
Good Friday, March 25
Community prayer breakfast, Woodville United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 7:30-8:30 a.m. Reservations required. 419-849-3062.
Cross Prayer Walk, starting 10:30 a.m. at First English Lutheran Church, 1415 Broadway. 419-244-3709; worship service at noon; Tenebrae service at 7 p.m.
Ecumenical Service for all Peninsula churches, noon-1 p.m., First United Church of Christ, Marblehead. 419-798-4612.
Community Cross Walk, 1:30 p.m. St. Mark Lutheran Church, 611 Woodville Rd., Toledo.
Choral Meditations on the Cross, noon; Stations of the Cross, 7 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, One Trinity Plaza, Toledo.
"Golgotha," a Lenten play, 7 p.m., Woodville United Methodist Church, corner of First and Perry streets.
The Passion of The Christ, special showing of movie, following 7 p.m. service, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 5240 Talmadge Rd. Nursery provided. 419-473-1187.
Tenebrae Service, 7:30 p.m., St. Petri Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 3120 South Byrne Rd.
Holy Saturday, March 26
Great Vigil of Easter, 7 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, One Trinity Plaza, Toledo.
Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m., St. Petri Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 3120 South Byrne Rd.
Easter Sunday, March 27
Sunrise Service, Ft. Meigs Cemetery, 6 a.m., and Easter worship services at 7, 9, and 11 a.m., Zoar Lutheran, 314 East Indiana Ave., Perrysburg.
Sunrise Communion, 6:30 a.m., St. Mark Lutheran Church, 611 Woodville Rd., Toledo.
Sunrise Worship, 7 a.m. St. Petri Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 3120 South Byrne Rd.
Sunrise Service, 7 a.m., Perrysburg First United Methodist Church, 200 West Second St., Perrysburg.
Youth Sunrise Service, 7 a.m., Unity United Methodist Church, 441 Oakdale Ave.
Sunrise Service, 7:30 a.m., Heritage Church of God, 3520 Strayer Rd., Maumee. 419-861-9520.
Sunrise Service, 8 a.m. by Lake Erie, end of James Street, Marblehead, Ohio, presented by First United Church of Christ, Marblehead. 419-798-4612.
"Behold the Lamb" Easter Cantata, 10 a.m., performed by Toledo Baptist Choir, 5732 Douglas Rd.