Bringing Passion to APU

by Allison Oster '01

Wrapped in heavy coats and blankets, students lined West Campus early Saturday morning on February 7, when Azusa Pacific University hosted a special interview and screening of the upcoming film, The Passion of The Christ. More than 3,800 APU students, faculty, staff, and local community and church members filled the Richard and Vivian Felix Event Center for the event, which was broadcast by satellite to nearly 1,000 churches across the U.S. The broadcast portion included a question and answer time with Mel Gibson, director, producer, and co-writer of the film. The Q & A was moderated by Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ. "I am thrilled that Azusa Pacific could be a catalyst for people coming together around this historically accurate portrayal of Jesus," said Jon R. Wallace, DBA, APU president. After the interview, Paul Lauer, marketing director for the film, encouraged the audience to spread the word about the movie. A screening immediately followed, providing the audience with an early viewing of the two-hour movie, which depicts the last hours of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. At the close of the film, the thousands of viewers streamed out in reverent silence. The Passion of The Christ opens in theaters on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004.