Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 27, 2004
Radio play tells tale of Martyr
Ken Fast's religious disc on St. Perpetua is the first of The Christians series
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
For a pinch of incense, Perpetua could save her life from a public execution and spare her aristocrat family the indignity of being branded as Christians.
Instead, she resolved to follow the teachings of a holy man who was tortured and murdered some 200 years earlier.
"An ounce of loyalty to the Roman emperor" was all that was required from the North African woman for her and her baby son to be released from prison and resume their luxurious lifestyle. But she refused to renounce her faith in Jesus.
The story of St. Perpetua and the diary she kept while in prison with other Christians is portrayed in a quality 32-minute compact disc radiodrama produced by Ken Fast of Northern Rain Studio in Derwent.
It tells the story of Perpetua and other followers of Christ who have been arrested for refusing to succumb to Roman ideology in Carthage, North Africa, in AD 203.
Fall and redemption
"Every resonating story is about the fall and redemption. We might write or produce a smaller story, but they are just variations of the great one," said Fast, owner and director of Northern Rain. "This story has appeal because of a courageous witness. Anyone would be moved by Perpetua."
Before entering prison, Perpetua - a catechumen - is baptized and then proudly proclaims she is a Christian. She meets other catechumens, including the pregnant Felicity, who believes she will not be executed because she is with child. However, she gives birth while she is jailed.
Perpetua is visited by her father who pleads for her to do the sensible thing and come home. The emperor is not God and she cannot burn incense to him, she says.
Perpetua maintains her strength by recalling Christ's suffering. When she begins her diary, she puts her fate in Christ and says, "My life is hidden in him."
In shackles on the eve of her death, Perpetua begins to doubt her actions until she remembers Jesus in the garden. She prays for the souls of those who do not understand her choice.
"I was talking with Ted Byfield and we chose this story because we wanted a story from early Christianity," Fast said. The CD is inspired by A Pinch of Incense from Byfield's 12-volume Christian history project.
Fast is seeking support to produce a 13-part radio series of The Christians, based on stories from Byfield's work.
"Many of the actors are all professional and the musical score is original and produced right here." Fast said. "We have a state-of-the-art recording studio."
Fast's faith path
Fast grew up in Ecuador and Peru. His parents were evangelical missionaries. He later spent many years in corporate communications with audio recording and video production, in Calgary.
"I was raised such that work and ministry are seamless. When I came from a mission, then into the United States and began my studies in college, I often found that in North American culture among Christians, there was a divorce between work and faith. It was difficult for me to reconcile," Fast said.
"My life working in the arts, by God's grace, has attempted to reconcile these things and discover a fuller picture."
As he began to study the Catholic traditions and heritage, Fast saw that it completed many things in his theological perspective that were missing. "Perhaps I am a completed evangelical as opposed to a convert," he said.
Fast came to know Ken and Marlane Noster who told him about the Derwent area. Fast also wanted a place for his elderly father.
With his wife Caroline and their son Francis, Fast found some land 2.5 km north of Derwent and built their home.
A renovated barn serves as the recording studio.
Visit www.northernrain.tv for more information.
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