A powerful message played forth on Friday, November 13, 2015 at Ark Church, 1263 E. North Avenue, in Baltimore. It was there that a production of “The Glory Train” was performed before a packed church. This production of ‘The Glory Train’ was a one-act gospel play produced by one of the church’s members, Elnora Christian. Christian had taken a previously written work and embellished it for performance purposes. According to Christian, this was actually the sixth time this production had been presented.
The play featured members of the church in roles which are still apparent in the contemporary church. The cast included:
- Doris Johnson as Sister Bossy Mae
- Carolyn Cosby as Sister Cash
- Shirley Waddy as Sister Goody-Good
- Cassandra Randall as Sister Know-it-All
- Janice Duncan as Sister Parson, the preacher’s wife
- Jerona Robinson as Sister Slip-Around
- Sharon Rogers as Sister Nosey
- Lucille Lamb as Sister Brag-A-Lot
- Melissa Robinson as Sister Living Right
- William Elicerio as the Preacher and
- Ellis Jenkins as the Conductor
‘The Glory Train’ related the story of nine women who were on their way to a convention and were interrupted on the train ride by death. As the story progresses, the women began to argue over who would be the person to sit in the front seat of the train. The various personalities begin to emerge and clash. As the train nears Glory, it begins to make various stops at hell. The conductor beckons for the women to get off at the stops, even though they think they are bound for Glory. Although the women protest, they are forced off the train. One, however, makes it to Glory.
With musical accompaniment by Marcus D. Smith, familiar gospel selections were heard throughout the performance. The songs included: “This Train Is Bound For Glory”, “I’m Going Home On the Morning Train”, “I Believe Just What He Said”, “Farther Along We’ll Understand It All By and By”, and “Glory, Glory Hallelujah Since I Laid My Burdens Down”, “I Know I’ve Been Changed”, “Soon AS I Get Home” and “Take Me To The King”.
The play began as a regular church service with the audience participating as the congregation. The audience enjoyed the production as they chuckled and sang along. Although the play contained elements of humor, the message of salvation it provided was powerful and convicting to the soul. The conductor (Jenkins, who also directed the play) even provided a monologue to leave the audience thinking. Was it a skit? Were the characters fictional? How does this impact me? Will my good works, my money or my knowledge get me to Glory?
Tierra Turner was in the audience and had been invited by co-worker, Elicerio. She said she would give the play five stars. She said it kept her entertained and the message of God in the play was well-articulated. She said she would love to see it again.
Ark Church member and deacon Anthony Anderson said the performance was awesome. He called it an excellent message and said he would love to see it again. Anderson also gave the production five stars.
Christian said this production of “The Glory Train” had been performed at The Forum, Second Baptist Church and twice before at Ark Church. She said the group, The Tribe of Lydia, was working on another production to be called, “Slabtown”. The Tribe of Lydia is one of twelve tribes to which the women of Ark Church belong and present various events for the benefit of the church.
The pastor of Ark Church is Bishop James L. Carter.