By Bonnie Mentel and Kathy Feist
Actor Frank Runyeon will be performing at St. Thomas More from March 6-8 in a three-day “Acts of Mercy Drama Mission.”
Runyeon has starred in over 1,000 television shows including: “As The World Turns,” “Santa Barbara,” “Falcon Crest,” “General Hospital,” “LA Law,” and “Melrose Place.” He recently was nominated for an Emmy for playing the role of Angel on “The Young and the Restless.” As someone who for the past 25 years has been performing the scripture throughout the country to various Christian denominations, Runyeon knows how to play the role of an angel.
Runyeon says his path began changing directions in his mid 30s, soon after his friend jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and his wife lost their twins in a miscarriage. “I stepped back a little bit and asked the big questions that don’t get onto TV shows,” he recalled. He began studying scripture and researching.
He began telling the Bible stories to his children, playing all the characters and all the roles. “My children said ‘This is so much easier than when they tell it in church!’” Runyeon said. Before long there was a demand for his performance at his children’s Presbyterian school, his wife’s Catholic church, his own Episcopalian church, and at friends’ Baptist and Lutheran churches.
“My stories are more ecumenical,” he says. “It’s more of how can we tell the story so we all just agree.”
Acts of Mercy
In the Catholic Church, the Extraordinary Year of Mercy has just ended and the staff at St. Thomas More plan to continue exploring the topic of mercy.
“We have a tradition of having a parish mission every other year at our parish. We were looking for something specifically that would engage multiple age levels at our parish. When we heard about Frank Runyeon, who we heard about partly from his own advertising and partly from other parishes, the feedback we heard was that he was really engaging and able to bring in multiple age levels. So, that’s what really attracted us to doing a drama mission,” said Rene Bhatia, Director of Faith Formation at St. Thomas More.
Each night, Runyeon will be performing stories from a different book of the Bible.
The first night’s theme is “Signs of Mercy” where Runyeon perform stories from the gospel of John such as: “The Wedding at Cana” and “The Raising of Lazarus.”
On the second night, Runyeon performs “Stories of Mercy” which are stories from the gospel of Luke, particularly the parables such as: “A Rich Man and a Poor Man,” “A Woman with a Coin,” “A Father with Two Sons,” and “A Traveler on the Road.” He also shares is own personal journey on this night (his wife’s favorite of the three).
On the last night of his presentation, Runyeon’s theme is “Works of Mercy.” He covers topics from the letter of James.
“I talked to Frank, initially, before we set it up. I was just impressed by his passion for doing this work. He travels all around the country and presents this at parishes. He just really feels a calling to do that. My conversations with him makes me feel like he brings a sense of sincerity and a depth of faith that undergirds what his performance will be,” Bhatia said.
The shows starts at 7:00 each evening at St. Thomas More, 11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City. The performances are free. More information can be found at www.FrankRunyeon.com or by calling 816-942-2492.