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Bethelehem under construction at FUMC

By Staff, 12/18/17 1:26 PM

NATIVITY 003

PRESCOTT – Christmas in Prescott will be livelier this year as the First United Methodist Church is planning a live nativity.

Work is going on to create the village of Bethlehem behind FUMC. Members of the congregation are building the inn where Mary and Joseph were turned away, the stable where Jesus was born, along a business district.

According to Sr. Pastor Sue Howe, the nativity will be held Dec. 22-24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22-23 and from 3-6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Eve nativity will end with a 30-minute traditional carol service.

Howe said the idea for a nativity started about two months ago. She talked with the youth leader about having children do the nativity. However, this changed when she went to the back of the church. A new concept came about.

Instead of a small nativity in the front of the church, Howe is looking at creating the village of Bethlehem in the church’s backyard. The village will include an inn, carpenter workshops, a stable, lots of lights and the front half of the youth building’s garage will be converted into Martha and Mary’s Café where visitors can get hot chocolate and cookies – at no cost.

The village is in the process of being constructed, mostly with the help of members of the congregation, but also from others who have heard about the idea and want to get involved. Howe said there will be live animals, and is particularly interested in finding a donkey, to make the experience more realistic. She said there will be horses, cows and pigs, all secured in pens.

The covered portion of the back of the church will be converted into stalls where different goods and wares would have been sold, much like the open-air markets of old.

As hay will be used during the nativity, candles won’t be. Instead, glo-sticks will be used to provide light, along with the lights strung up throughout the village.

Visitors can either drive through, using the alley between Main and W. 2nd streets, or they can walk through and enjoy all the sights and sounds available. There will be plenty of parking using both the lot in front of the church and the lot across the street behind the Prescott Police Department.

Howe said she’s received a great deal of assistance from the community, including volunteers. Children who attend the nativity in period costume can participate, should they choose. There will also be a visitation from three giant angels, which should add spark to the festivities.

“It will be great fun,” Howe said. “There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and we’ll set everything up the week before. If this takes off, we’ll add more to the village next year. I’m excited to have the opportunity and freedom to dramatize the Christmas message.”

Anyone with a donkey the church can use for the nativity, or anyone knowing someone with a donkey, can contact Howe at 501-541-4657.

 

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