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First-year program brings Bethlehem Alive!

First-year program brings Bethlehem Alive!
First-year program brings Bethlehem Alive!
An angel watches over Mary and Joseph in a stable after the birth of Jesus while three kings bring gifts during Bethlehem Alive!, a program by Pfrimmer's Chapel United Methodist Church near Corydon. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

Guards were called by the innkeeper throughout the evening to escort beggars from his establishment so they didn’t disturb patrons who were in the inn drinking wassail, eating baked goods and watching performers, while outside, in a stable, a young couple who had traveled to Bethlehem from Nazareth huddled with their newborn son. Angels kept watch over the young family, while kings and shepherds came to see the baby, called Jesus.
Other visitors, many from Harrison County, also came to see the baby.
The event was Bethlehem Alive!, a first-time event staged Saturday and Sunday nights by members of Pfrimmer’s Chapel United Methodist Church, located between Corydon and Lanesville.
Kim Rose, who organized the event, said the idea came from a brainstorming session by the worship committee.
‘Initially, it was going to be live nativity,’ she said.
But that expanded into a program by the children’s bell choir and several short puppet plays.
Visitors to Bethlehem Alive! were greeted in the parking lot by roaming shepherds, who escorted them to the manger, where Mary and Joseph sat with a baby (a doll), surrounded by three kings, other shepherds and angels. Sharing the stable with them was a donkey and sheep.
From there, guests could go into the fellowship hall that was dimly lit. They were asked to sign a guest book by the innkeeper’s employees. Anna thanked them for coming before they were escorted to a table to watch rotating performances by the bell choir and puppeteers. Servers brought cups of wassail and a plate of snacks to them.
Rose’s mother, Maggie Teeter of Corydon, made all the costumes that were used for the two-night event, and some that weren’t used. Many of the participants ‘ there were about 100 of them ‘ opted to forego wearing the fleece items, which would have made them too hot for the balmy night.
‘We had planned to switch people (in and out of the manger) for warmth,’ Rose said, but with temperatures in the upper 50s both nights during the program, that wasn’t necessary.
The Rev. Tim Johnson, who’s been pastor at Pfrimmer’s Chapel about 18 months now, said the weather here during the weekend was more like what it would have been when Jesus was born.
One lowly shepherd was heard to say, ‘Who would have thought we’d be running the air conditioner this time of year.’
Records provided by the innkeeper’s guest book indicate nearly 250 people visited Bethlehem Alive! during the three hours Saturday, with at least that many expected during 2-1/2 hours Sunday.
Rose said one visitor walked into the manger and pulled the swaddling cloth to look at the newborn king. ‘He was moved to tears after touching baby Jesus,’ she said.
Pfrimmer’s Chapel UMC members are already planning next year’s event.
‘It will definitely be bigger and better next year,’ Rose said.
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