From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, the Disciples Christian Church, 565 Boardman-Canfield Road, will host a Journey to Bethlehem Live Nativity. The event will take place both inside and outside the church with a cast of between 40 and 50 church members.
"This walk-through drama recreates the sights and sounds of the village of Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth," said event chair Carol Salmon. "It will be a fun event and will remind people of the true meaning of Christmas."
The journey for visitors at the event will begin as they enter the church, which will be transformed into a city street. The first thing guests will do is register with the census taker. From that station they will head down the hall to the tax collector.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Angels Jean Montgomery and Allie Grope are prepared to donate some nonperishable food at Disciples Christian Church in Boardman, during the Journey to Bethlehem Live Nativity from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Posing as Mary and Joseph are Michael and Sarah Grope with their son, Evan.
"We painted hundreds of gold coins for the station," Salmon said.
After the tax collector, guests will enter the palace of King Herod, who will ask what they know of a king's birth in Bethlehem. From the palace, the next step is through a darkened church sanctuary where young angels will help light the way to outside the church.
On the church lawn, guests will visit the camps of the three wise men and the shepherds. The stations will have burning camp fires that will be handled by church volunteer Evan John, who is a Boy Scout leader who knows how to tend fires. He will also be playing the role of one of the shepherds.
The journey will pass an inn, where admittance will be refused and finally end up at a stable in Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph, played by Michael and Sarah Grope, will be tending the baby Jesus.
The journey continues back inside the church where guests, both young and old, can take part in a Christmas craft and enjoy cocoa and cookies.
The elaborate costumes for the presentation were made by coordinator Mary Ciavarella. Each one is authentic to the time from King Harrod's golden crown to the shepherds with their simplistic garments and staffs.
Adding to the realism and fun will be several four-legged actors from Greenford.
"I'll be bringing a camel, donkeys, sheep, goats and a small cow," said Dwayne Felger, who owns the animals.
The event has taken a lot of time and work to pull together, but church members were eager to take part and the live Nativity. Salmon said everyone understood this event was a gift to the community and everyone is welcome.
"The event is free and is our gift to the community," Salmon said. "We are asking for a voluntary food donation that will be given to the Second Harvest Foodbank."