However, what if the stories we tell act as a catalyst for God…a way for us to better connect with Him and to help others better understand not only the world around them, but the Word itself?
pet karu vividly tackles this question via Unity Productions. Founded 8 years ago, Unity Productions specializes in bringing biblical stories to life in SL. pet karu is not only the founder, but the owner of this unique form of ministry. She adds, “We specialize in motivational, inspirational and biblical stories. We also have ‘Soaking Worships,’ which is a form of liturgical dance.”
Liturgical dance is the use of virtual body movement as a means of public worship. In the case of Second Life, Liturgical dance is conveyed through the use of avatars; this, along with the incorporation of powerful, thought-provoking music, acts as a salve that tightly connects Unity Production not only to biblical verse, but also to interpretative dance…all designed as a way to pay homage to God. Please check out some Real Life and Second Life visual examples of liturgical dance here (RL photos courtesy of pininterest; SL photos courtesy of Unity Production’s February 25, 2017 performance):
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Prior to the formation of Unity Productions, pet karu previously hosted an hour of “moving prayer” in RL. This, according to pet, was basically a whole body prayer…a means of praying while dancing. In fact, these means of worship was entitled, “Come Away My Beloved,” and it was very active during the years 2009-2010. “In SL…” pet karu explains, “‘Come Away My Beloved’ blossomed into our first play with the same title; it was actually an adaptation of The Song of Solomon.”
“Come Away My Beloved” premiered in SL…and was presented by Unity Productions in July 2010.
II. pet karu Brings A Bit Of Real Life To Second Life
In RL, pet has been an Ordained Minister since 1997, and began her work as a Minister in a dual ministry ran by a husband and wife team. While at the dual ministry, pet began a woman’s ministry that placed an emphasis on women who suffered from sexual addiction. When asked about her additional RL contributions, pet explains: “I have ministered to women in RL…I did that for 8 years….and ministered in a half-way house as well…in fact, the half-way house functioned as a dual house, because half of the women that lived there had previously been released from prison, while the other half were there because they were given a court order to get clean from drugs…”
pet acted as the head of the dual ministry’s women’s ministry from 2006 to 2007…and has brought her RL experience to SL in an effort to continue her work in not only helping others, but in actively spreading the biblical word via liturgical dance.
She also holds a license to minister from the Masters International Schools, with an emphasis on Biblical Counseling.
III. pet karu: “Unity membership ebbs and flows.”
When asked who else works with Unity Production to creatively hone its performances, pet karu said that Unity membership tends to ebb and flow. She continues, “We have a core group of ten. However, we maintain inactive members, too. We have had a total of 35 members since Unity started.”
pet also relies on members who are not active in Second Life. “My best friend is not a part of SL…” pet explains, “…but she is a very important part of Unity Productions…”
pet’s best friend is one of many who act as an important catalyst in spreading the Unity Production-based word across the grid. For this reason, those who are a part of this production company are very close. When asked what is her favorite thing about Unity Production, pet exclaims: “Easy peasy! We are a family on a common mission and we actually love each other. We cry, laugh, celebrate, cut-up together without crowding each others space.”
With love and fellowship acting as the foundation of Unity Production, pet also relies on the talents of Unity Productions’ active members. She does not believe in forcing Christian doctrine and ideology on her in world members, either. She explains, “Though we routinely and actively recruit cast members, there is no stipulation when it comes to faith; members do not have to practice Christianity–at all…”
In addition, pet contends that rather than try to make the cast do all things related to Unity Productions, she actually hones in on her staff members’ natural talent to better strengthen Unity Productions. She says that each member has a God-ordained job to do, a talent that can act as an instrument in spreading the word about God and biblical verses therein. “Talent…” pet asserts, “…is all about packaging and making it all work…God shows me a piece [of His vision], then shows another person a piece [of his vision], and we work it from there…”
When asked to describe an average, Unity Production day, pet chuckles, then says, “…well between meeting with builders, [and meeting with] clothes designers for the items we need, [as well as meeting with] Venue hosts for those who wish Unity Production to come to their sims[…not to mention holding meetings] to discuss our needs….I am constantly tweaking the stage. I also have the cast members [who also function as] builders come behind me to make sure everything I put down is on the ground.”
IV. “I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding” ~Corinthians 14:15
pet explains that before every performance or staff meeting, Unity Productions prays together. “…before starting….” she explains, “…the staff and I also listen to the music for the show, discuss clothing and who is doing what.”
This routine aids pet and the Unity Productions staff in insuring that all responsibilities are delegated to all staff members involved. “Every member…” pet explains, “…has the ability to animate the cast. So, if someone is unavailable, the show goes on.”
And although all movements and performances are done virtually through Second Life, pet asserts that rehearsal prior to performances is still extremely important. “…we rehearse 3 days a week for one hour. We used to rehearse for 4-5 hours for 5 days….That became too much.”
All hard work aside, pet makes a point to always stress God’s influence in Unity Productions. She describes Unity Production as “combination of theater and the Word of God….this equals Unity Production…”
Via this awesome combination, pet sees great things happening for Unity Production in the years to come. “Oh I see us taking the grid by storm, of course. I see this….by means of the Unity Production group…the promotion of a singular message: that God loves you.
She continues, “It’s how we walk, talk and otherwise interact with others…to demonstrate that being a believer in God doesn’t make you judgmental, critical or accusatory…its a realization that without LOVE, we are nothing!”
V. So…What Time Does An Average Unity Production Show Starts, and Where Do We Go To See The Performance?
Unity Productions have performances during the following days and times:
8 PM Friday
2 PM Saturday
5 PM Sunday
pet continues, “When we begin a production, we send out notices through various groups, and through our subscriber well in advance. The week we premier, we have sneak previews during our rehearsal times…and our rehearsal time starts at 7 PM SLT…”
Unity Productions is located at Dreamworld; to pay a visit to this venue, please click here: Unity Production performs. To learn more about Unity Productions, please visit the website by clicking the following link: www.genesthai/org.
Please take a look at the Unity Production slide show below:
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