WASHINGTON — Broadway — the very word conjures up thoughts of dancers in flashy costumes, catchy show tunes and majestic theaters. But scripture? One wouldn’t ordinarily think to associate the American cultural phenomenon of Broadway musicals with biblical teachings. However, that’s just what the Rev. Robyn Gray has in mind.
Gray brought the idea with her all the way from Grand Rapids, Mich., where she lived and worked before assuming her role as pastor at Washington’s First Congregational Church in April of this year. The series, titled “Broadway at First! Where Show Tunes Meet Scripture,” ties a selection of hit musicals to the New Testament. “The sermons will be presented in a variety of formats, allowing the power of these productions to accentuate the power of the Gospel,” Gray explained.
The four-part series began on Sunday, July 28, with the first sermon centering on the musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” This musical grapples with feeling lonely and left out in high school. The biblical passage Gray tied to this show was Mark 10:46-52, about Jesus giving a blind man sight.
“I was surprised how much this first show really spoke to me, especially around inclusion and making sure people understand that they still matter,” Gray remarked about the theme that tied the show and scripture together.
The response from the congregation on the first sermon was positive. “Several members felt the sermon was very powerful,” Gray said. “One member even brought his 8-year-old nephew, who unequivocally stated that the service was fun.”
The sermon on Sunday, August 11 will focus on the musical “Wicked” and the biblical passage John 15:12-15. “We’ll dive into how love can change us all for good.”
The last sermon of the series on Sunday, August 18 will finish with “Westside Story” and the biblical passage Revelations 21:1-5. “West Side Story will wrap us up with an exploration of what a society based on equality and respect might look like,” Gray said.
“Musical theater fans won’t want to miss these chances to hear God speaking to us through these shows,” Gray summed up.
First Congregational Church is located at 6 Kirby Road in Washington. For more information, visit www.firstchurchwashingtonct.org or call 860-868-0569 ext 11.