The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation


Letters and Responses

Letter from Jim Mason Concerning Church Violence - 9 Apr 2004

Hello Frank & Mary,

Been thinking of you. I thought you might want to know about this.

Be sure to look out for the new film from Tribe of Heart: Peaceable Kingdom. I'm in it telling a story or two from my farm-boy childhood.


Glassport, Pa. � A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

People who attended Saturday's performance at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.

Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said.

Patty Bickerton, the youth minister at Glassport Assembly of God (search), said the performance wasn't meant to be offensive. Bickerton portrayed the Easter rabbit and said she tried to act with a tone of irreverence. "The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, it is about Jesus Christ," Bickerton said.

Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

"It was very disturbing," Norelli-Burke said. "I could not believe what I saw. It wasn't anything I was expecting."

Reply from Frank L. Hoffman

Dear Jim:

Thank you very much for sending us this article. Unfortunately, far too many churches focus upon violence rather than upon the love, compassion and peace of Christ. As you all too well know, they chase away the little children, rather than bringing them unto Christ, as He told us to do.

We saw you in the film [Peaceable Kingdom]. Thanks for your contribution.

We have been working with Tribe of Heart for several years, and have helped fund The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom. Jenny and Jim have a phenomenal talent of emotionally drawing the viewer into the documentary.

In the Love of the Lord,


We welcome your comments


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