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300 nativity scenes to be displayed
Many churches welcome the Baby Jesus into their mangers this time of year.
At First United Methodist Church, there's always room for several hundred embodiments of the Christ Child, along with a holy flood of shepherds, kings, donkeys and sheep.
Organizers of the annual Journey to Bethlehem say that walking into a church filled with 300 nativity scenes truly amounts to a sweet and moving spiritual experience.
“People can't believe how many different ways that the birth of Jesus can be depicted,” said Joannie Wiltbank at First United Methodist Church, 298 W. 3rd St.
Wiltbank noted that last year's display featured only two duplicate sets.
The church began its popular displays of the nativity scenes seven years ago. Each year the number of scenes or creches slightly surpasses 300. “The nativity sets remind us of the human part of Jesus. We remember that God was willing to sacrifice his only child for us.”
Journey to Bethlehem will be open to the general public from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $1 or one can of food, all to be donated to the Yuma Community Food Bank.
Journey to Bethlehem also features the Creche Cafe, which will offer soup, sandwiches and baked goods for purchase. The event's boutique will also showcase jewelry, crafts and other gift items.
“Sharing in the Journey to Bethlehem is a wonderful way to get your heart and mind focused on the true meaning of the season,” Wiltbank said. “It is a special family activity and a great way to support our local food bank. We are always excited to provide the money and food that is collected each year.”
Features editor Darin Fenger can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6860.