Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 8, 2013

Judgement House begins Wednesday

Unity Baptist Church to host ‘Friends’ this week and next

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Unity Baptist Church’s Judgement House will return this year, with a production titled “Friends.”

“This year, we have some teenagers who are involved in making some choices,” said Pastor Floyd Paris, who wrote the script. “There are a lot of teenagers who have been involved in what is known as a ‘Skittles Party,’ where they think it is fun to bring drugs from the medicine cabinet. They think they are safe because they (the drugs) have been prescribed by a doctor and filled by a pharmacy. Of course, it is not.”

This year’s production, he said, “deals with the consequences of that. It’s a good lesson, something every kid should see,” Paris said.

“Skittle’s parties” are a form of prescription drug abuse that plagues the region and Paris developed the script from talking to local law enforcement officers, coroners and judges. “Looking at the things they are seeing in our society, that is where we came up with the idea for this storyline,” he said. “This is important, trying to keep kids from even starting or entertaining the idea that this is in any form or fashion acceptable. There is nothing about it that is safe or acceptable.”

The title speaks to another lesson at the heart of Judgement House this year — friends and how to choose them.

“One of the things kids deal with,” he said, “is how to choose your friends, what is a true friend? What a true friend is comes out in this year’s script,” he said.  

“We are always targeting the younger generation for some important lessons,” said Paris. “A lot of times teenagers think that they are invincible, that they will live forever, nothing can hurt them and that is simply not true. “We try to reinforce what the parents are teaching, churches are teaching and help students learn to cope with life,” he added.

 Judgement House, he said, is always about consequences.

“Judgement House tells the story of people who have the opportunity to give their life to Christ. Some do, some don’t and the consequences of that choice and how dangerous they can be is played out,” said Paris.

The message, he said, is universal and often other churches help the congregation to put on the production that requires countless hours of set building and rehearsing. Each night 125 to 200 volunteers are involved, he said.

The scale of Judgement House, he said, and that effort required is why it is typically held for a number of years and then takes a small hiatus. The last year a production was held was 2011, and an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 attended, he said.

Judgement House will run Wednesday through Friday from 7  to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. this week and next, said Paris.

Groups of 10 or more are asked to make reservations, which are also taken for individuals, and smaller groups. Reservations can be made by calling (606) 324-7157.  Walk-ins are also encouraged, and spots are reserved on each tour for them, said Paris. Judgement House is free.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com