By Cristina Janney
Newton Kansan
We are all used to gremlins and goblins taking center stage this time of year, but Grace Community Church is putting a different spin on fright night.
This is the third year Grace has staged a Judgement House production in Newton.
Judgement House was created in 1983 in Alabama as a ministry that wanted to present a message of salvation. Today many churches stage Judgement Houses during Halloween as an alternative to haunted houses.
The script for Grace’s Judgement House, which is titled “59 Minutes: Eternity is Less Than an Hour Away,” came from the Judgment House non-profit group, which assists staging productions all over the country and the world.
The “59 Minutes” script starts in a morgue. You are given a brief description of the deaths of four people — a father, two teen boys and a girl.
After leaving the morgue, participants are taken on a journey through the last 59 minutes of the deceaseds’ lives and learn what may be waiting for them in eternity.
“You never know when your time is going to be up and when you are going to have less than an hour on this Earth,” said Janelle Paden, assistant director of the Grace Judgement House.
More than 200 people volunteered to help stage Grace’s Judgement House production. In each scene, the main characters are played by different people, but they wear the same colored clothing to help audience members follow the plot.
The production has intense scenes of violence and hell, and is not recommended for children younger than the age of 10.
For the faint of heart, there are opportunities to step out of the tour if a scene becomes too intense.
The church also offers an opportunity for prayer an exploration of salvation at the end of the tour.
Paden said this has been the church’s most successful production. As of Wednesday, the church had two sold-out performances with more than 500 people through the performance in one night.
The production has hosted groups of deaf residents who used an interpreter on the tour, Hispanic groups and a group from a Chinese church.
Paden said one of her most memorable moments from this year’s performance was a group of basketball players.
Several members of the team accepted Christ after the tour, and the team did a chant to celebrate.
There is still time to catch a performance of Judgement House. Performances will be 6 to 9 p.m. today and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling (316) 558-0365 or online at, but walk-ins are welcome.
Suggested donation is $3.
Grace Community Church is at 1600 S. Anderson Ave. in Newton.