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Hundreds expected at Unity Chapel’s ‘Walk to Bethlehem’

The folks at Unity Chapel United Methodist Church are still looking for one good camel.
Camels are not that easy to find in these parts, as the Rev. Scott Johnson and his staff knows, but they’d like to have one for the Nativity Scene at the fifth annual “Walk to Bethlehem” this weekend at the church on Lost Creek Road south of Ramsey.
The Walk to Bethlehem is a free, eight-station, living history kind of outdoor reenactment that depicts the 2,000-year-old Biblical account of Joseph and Mary and the events surrounding the birth of the Christ Child.
The public is invited to take the Walk Saturday or Sunday night, between 6 and 8:30. It takes about 22 to 25 minutes and concludes with refreshments in the new Family Life Center.
The stations are:
1. The Annunciation. An angel tells Mary that she will give birth to the Christ Child.
2. The angel appears in a dream to a restless Joseph, asleep in his workplace.
3. The Marketplace, where Roman soldiers, some on horseback, announce the census decree.
4. Angels announce to shepherds that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem.
5. The Wise Men see a mysterious star and head to Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ Child.
6. People who have seen the star meet joyful shepherds who have seen the baby Jesus.
7. The innkeeper turns away people seeking food and shelter because of heavy crowds in Bethlehem for the Roman-ordered census.
8. The Nativity scene, with a live infant, and sheep and cows, but no camel, yet.
Johnson said 60 people are involved in the production, not counting technicians and volunteers in the kitchen.
The Walk is free but people can help with production costs at the marketplace or in the Family Life Center afterward.
Evaluation forms will also be available for those who wish to make comments. Johnson said the comments are consistently “thank yous” from people who are grateful for helping them get back in touch with what the Christmas story and the Christmas season are all about.
The last three years the Walk has attracted 600 to 700 people. The biggest crowd, between 1,150 and 1,200, showed up the second year. “It overwhelmed us,” Johnson said. Three years ago, it rained until 4 p.m. Saturday, and then on Sunday the temperature dropped to freezing, which cut down on the attendance.