2015-12-10 / Front Page

St. Peter's Brings the Nativity Scene to Life

By James Merolla


In a previous depiction, Bob Grimes, Tina Grimes, Lily Bliss-Wohlers, Jason Bliss-Wohlers, Thomas Bliss- Wohlers, and Fred Baillargeron portrayed the figures surrounding the birth of Christ at St. Peter's. In a previous depiction, Bob Grimes, Tina Grimes, Lily Bliss-Wohlers, Jason Bliss-Wohlers, Thomas Bliss- Wohlers, and Fred Baillargeron portrayed the figures surrounding the birth of Christ at St. Peter's. A few days, maybe a week before the annual event, the parishioners set up the manger.

They use original costumes for each role, several from last year and a few that are new. If there is an infant in the parish of the right age and constitution, he may be lucky enough to play the Christ Child.

Welcome to the Living Nativity at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, where two dozen volunteers come together in a traditional ceremony that marks, for Christians, the most important birthday in human history.

The event is assembled for one evening each season. This year, St. Peter’s portrays the Nativity scene “on the cold winter’s night” of Sunday, Dec. 20, from 4-7 p.m.

“This is a congregational effort. We all do what we can to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to bring it to life at this time of the year,” said Tina Grimes, who is one of the organizers, along with her husband, Robert.

The church’s Living Nativity once died out, Grimes added. “The church had been doing a Living Nativity for many, many years, but the effort lapsed and we did not present one for at least 10 years.”

“Pastor Barbara [Reifschneider] has been the one to re-ignite the tradition, and everyone in the congregation is very thankful for her efforts. This is the second year in our recent past. It will hopefully give the community time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas as we hurry through the season,” said Grimes.

On Dec. 20, at least 25 participants will abide by their sheep in 30-minute shifts. “They volunteer a few weeks in advance,” explained Grimes. “If a time is not fully covered, some will step forward for two shifts. If there is a specific role that someone wants to portray, they can sign up for that in advance, too.

“If we are lucky enough to have a new baby in the congregation, that child may portray the baby Jesus. If not, we use a doll,” she said. “We do not have dialogue. Usually, we share our Christmas stories with each other. I do not know the name of the farm that the animals come from. However, we are very thankful for them.”

At this year’s outdoor event, a chorus from the Mt. Zion AME church in Newport will perform at the beginning, while carols will be sung at the end. Cookies and cocoa will be served in the church for all to enjoy and to warm up the volunteers, if necessary.

“This is a very joyous time of the year. St. Peter’s wants to share that joy with our community and all who pass by us,” said Grimes.

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