Mariner’s Bethel to host Live Nativity on Friday

A living Nativity scene, complete with shepherds and carols sung to the strum of a guitar, will be held at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20.

“It is done in a worshipful atmosphere,” said Dave Humphrey, senior pastor of the church, at 81 Central Ave in Ocean View.

“Every half-hour, we reenact the Christmas story. A couple of us read scripture passages that relate to it. Live people portray the characters. They dress up and they walk up into the scene, and their roles are talked about. There are instrumentalists. There are bales of hale and a manger, sort of a stable, with a star above the stable,” the pastor said.

“Sometimes we have had animals, but that can’t be guaranteed,” he added with a laugh.

Portrayed are Mary, the mother of Jesus, Joseph, baby Jesus, the three wise men, an angel and shepherds. Sometimes a live baby plays the part of Jesus, but other times a life-sized doll is used.

“We get a lot of people who come to the live Nativity who aren’t regular church members. They find out about it by word of mouth. A number of our folks from our congregation come, but we have had, over the years, people who came to Mariner’s Live Nativity and it is their first event here.

“Just the fact that it’s outside makes it more real. It kind of evokes this idea that Jesus came in a real place that was not a big cathedral — not at all. In fact, it was outside in humble settings. That attracts people,” he said.

Also at the event, hot chocolate and refreshments are enjoyed by a fire.

The Live Nativity was started by Christina Wilson, director of youth and family ministries at the church.

“We have enjoyed this tradition for the last 10 years or so. I’ve been here eight years, and this has been ongoing every Christmas. The church had been doing it several years prior to when I came,” Humphrey said.

“Hearts are warmed, and everyone has a good time.”


By Susan Canfora
Staff Reporter