Community comes together to put on live nativity

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, December 21, 2010

PROCTORVILLE — Tonight and Wednesday evening, the public will have a chance to see and hear what it might have been like in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago, where the Christmas story began.

Sponsored by Finley United Methodist Church in Proctorville, and with the help of several churches in the Rome and Proctorville areas, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” is a live nativity production that will deliver the Christmas message. It will begin at 7 p.m. both nights outside near the Village of Proctorville’s city hall on the corner of State and Thomas streets. The event is free and open to the public.

Sandy Joseph, a member of Finley United Methodist Church, said the church’s first nativity production was in 1998, and they have done it many times since.

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“We do it because it is a mission of our church, and the other churches, to tell the people in the community about the birth of Jesus Christ, and that he is our savior,” said Joseph.

To put it on is no small feat. A team of about 75 people, 60 of them actors in the production, has been working for at least three months to make sure things go smoothly. Some have been working all through the year, making costumes and looking for anything that can be used to make the live nativity the best it can be.

In addition to the actors and behind-the-scenes crew, another team will be joining them to make it as real as it can be. Live horses, calves, sheep, goats, miniature donkeys and llamas will all be there. After the production, some of the animals can be petted.

Instrumental and soloist performances will make up the music, with some Marshall University music majors assisting as well.

Joseph said the production is directed by Marsha Imhoff, who has been working diligently.

“She has a huge job, coordinating and putting it all together,” Joseph said.

While many people in the production have been part of it for years, some are new this year and are excited to be a part of it.

Joseph said there has been a lot of participation from the community.

She said last year, there were about 200 people there to watch each night they performed.

Hot chocolate will be served by the Teresa Chapter Order of the Eastern Star Lodge.

Joseph said she hopes everyone leaves with the same message.

“At the very end, the narrator asks everyone to recite John 3:16. We hope they take away the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and we are saved only by grace, not because we have obeyed the 10 Commandments,” she said. “We don’t want people to just leave Jesus in the manger.”