Churches strive to preserve the real meaning of Christmas

December 11, 2013 

'Journey to Bethlehem'

First Baptist Maryville invites you to come along on the Journey to Bethlehem, a free family-friendly outdoor walk-through play, this weekend.

Journey to Bethlehem is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the church grounds at 7110 State Route 162 in Maryville.

"People can actually walk with certain families who are traveling with Mary and Joseph on the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem," said Erin Westfall, publications coordinator for First Baptist. "It's full of customs and rituals that have to do with travel in those days. It's very culturally rich, and you'll learn a lot.

"Toward the end, you'll see the 'no room at the inn" scene and the nativity."

Westfall said it takes hundreds of people to present Journey to Bethlehem. Along the road, there will be actors, live animals, cozy fires to warm the way and complimentary refreshments.

Tours will begin every six minutes and will last approximately one hour. Reservations can be made online at fbmaryville.org/jtb or by calling 618-667-8221. Walk-ins are welcome during the last two hours each evening. Guests must be able to travel outdoors over uneven ground without the assistance of sheelchairs, walkers or strollers for 1/2 of a mile.

More than 3,000 people are expected to take the journey, Westfall said.

The program is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Check fbmaryville.org/jtb for weather and program updates.

'The Glory of Christmas'

The music ministry of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Belleville will present "The Glory of Christmas" on Dec. 15 and 16.

An instrumental overture with a harpist, cellist, pianist and organist will begin at 6:40 p.m. (doors open at 6). The production follows at 7 p.m. with a classic tribute to Christmases past with Shelby Broadway of the Belleville East Lance Dancers, live animals and radio personality Kurt Wallace.

The second half of the production, "Why, will use testimonials and sketches to answer questions such as, "Why all the gifts, trees and lights?" and "Why would God send his son to be born in a lowly manger?"

The concert is free; an offering will be collected. Signing for the hearing impaired will be available.

The church is at 1200 Moreland Drive in Belleville. For more information, call 618-397-5994 or visit stmatthewumc.org.

'Glory of Christmas'

The music ministry of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Belleville will present "The Glory of Christmas" on Sunday and Monday.

An instrumental overture with a harpist, cellist, pianist and organist will begin at 6:40 p.m. (doors open at 6). The production follows at 7 p.m. with a classic tribute to Christmases past. It includes Shelby Broadway of the Belleville East Lancer Dancers, live animals and radio personality Kurt Wallace of Shine.FM, 88.3, in Indianapolis.

The second half of the production will use testimonials and sketches to answer the questions: Why all the gifts, the trees and lights. Why would God send his son to be born in a lowly manger? Is Christmas about God redeeming us back to Himself?

The production is written and the drama is coordinated by Dana Stauder, under the direction of Hank Oplinger, minister of music.

The concert is free; an offering will be collected. Signing for the hearing impaired will be available.

The church is at 1200 Moreland Drive in Belleville. For more information, call 618-397-5994 or visit stmatthewumc.org.

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