Hagerstown resident Kim Whalen, dressed in first-century Biblical attire, was one of 5,000 to be part of an episode of the “Sermon on the Mount” from the series “The Chosen.” Others included entire family members taking part. Many made it their yearly vacation.

Hagerstown resident Kim Whalen has probably never placed a bet around a poker table or laid down any money before the roll of a pair of dice. But earlier this year, she did gamble, and it paid off big for her in a very unusual way. The 1979 Northeastern graduate became 1 in 5,000 to appear in an episode of the current popular Christian drama, “The Chosen.”
“I fell in love with ‘The Chosen’ about a year and a half ago,” said Whalen, a member of Bethesda Worship Center in Richmond. “I downloaded the free app to watch the program and was hooked. I don’t like to read, so this series helped me learn a lot more on the lives of the disciples.”
‘The Chosen’ is about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth and the different people who met and followed him. The show is financed via crowdfunding, a method to fund its production and stream the series. The show is free to watch, and viewers can contribute whatever amount they wish to help fund future seasons. In 2021, audiences had contributed $40 million towards its production.
Acting as consultants are Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel from Fusion Global Ministries; Catholic priest and national director of Family Theater Productions, Father David Guffey, and professor of New Testament at Biola University, Dr. Doug Huffman. Together, they are on the set working to keep the series authentic.
A year ago, Whalen was receiving emails about the current happenings of the series when a notice popped up that caught her interest. The series was signing up people to be part of the story about the Sermon on the Mount and feeding of the 5,000. It was a first come, first served. Without a second thought, she was signed up.
“I was at work when the approval came by email. I was so excited.”
Now it was time to plan a trip to the Salvation Army summer camp at Midlothian, Texas, where the episode was to be filmed. It was up to everyone to pay their own way and even make their own costumes. Getting 5,000 people to volunteer and pay for travel to Texas might seem like a difficult task for the production crew to achieve. However, each one of the 50 states were represented as well as 37 countries worldwide.
“For many, this was their family vacation. We made our own costumes from a video and patterns they provided. They even told us where we could get materials. Everyone’s costumes were phenomenal! Even the little kids were so good!”
Once arriving in Texas, driving to the camp, passing a COVID and a last-minute security test, Whalen was on the set June 8.
“There were so many volunteers, and everyone was so happy. They helped us with where to sit and what to do. Because of the extreme heat, we were asked to bring an umbrella, water, bug spray and electrolytes.”
Once an announcement was made they were filming, all modern luxuries had to be hidden as cameras rolled on ground level as well as drones in the sky. This went on for a couple of hours.
All 5,000 were not in a single filming scene but once editing is done, the full amount will appear together.
Whalen is looking forward to the final product even if she does not have a closeup. Because of so much rain in Texas over the summer, the viewing might not be available until later this year or early 2023.
“I can’t wait to see the final product. I didn’t want to leave. Just to be part of the reenactment is such a blessing. This world is in such a mess, but people just need to know they are loved and very important to God.”

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