Hundreds of Nativities on display PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 29 November 2013 10:05
File photo. Nativity display at Alliance church in Bowling Green. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The manger scene depicting the birth of the Christ child has been prominent in art for centuries. Two area church congregations have made a modern tradition out of hosting displays of the Nativity set or creches as the scenes are also called.
Both displays return this year and will be held next weekend. Bowling Green Alliance Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are both hosting displays  "Come to the Stable" and "Interfaith Nativity Festival," respectively which are expected to display more than 1,200 scenes between the two displays. While each of the scenes depicts the birth of Christ, each one of the hundreds is unique in its own way. There are a wide variety of depictions.
Each of the displays feature both old and new scenes. They showcase the Holy Family in a variety of ways and cultures. The displays draw many return visitors each year, many of whom make the visits annually to prepare for the Christmas season.
Some may be one piece with all the figures, others may have numerous figures. In past years the displays have varied in size to tiny sets that can fit into a matchbox up to life-size figures.
The 13th annual free Nativity display, hosted by Bowling Green Alliance Church, has additional hours this year included in its four-day schedule, Dec. 5-8.
"Come to the Stable," featuring more than 700 Nativity displays from around the world, live music and refreshments, has added noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 as an additional Sunday to its schedule.
Jane Shively, one of the event's founding committee members, said the hours were added because of previous interest from guests. Extending the schedule gives people the opportunity to attend their own church that morning, have lunch, then visit the display together as a family Christmas activity.
The Interfaith Nativity Festival display in Perrysburg is set in an ancient Middle Eastern marketplace. (Photo provided)
The complete schedule is Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m.; next Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Dec. 8, noon to 3 p.m.
While the event is free, guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry, while monetary donations are accepted as well.
Live music is scheduled throughout the four days, beginning with Gloria Lehman and the Voices of Harmony on opening night. Among the musical guests are Joy Morin, Susan West, the Bowlus Family, Lynn Long, Laurie Limes, the Ohio Music Teachers' Association, music students from the Studio Connection and the studio of Joy Morin, plus a jazz trio, children's bell choir and adult choir from the church.
The music schedule includes,  Gloria Lehman at 6 p.m. and Voices of Harmony at 8 p.m. Thursday;  piano duets by Joy Morin and Susan West at 11 a.m. Dec. 6; followed by the Bowlus Family Music at 6  and a jazz trio from the church's youth program that evening. The Dec. 7 musical highlights include piano music by Laurie Limes at 10 a.m.. At noon students from the studio of Morin will entertain, followed by more piano music from the Ohio Music Teacher's Association at 1 p.m. Lynne Long will take to the keyboard at 2 p.m. with Susan West at 4 p.m. Students from The Studio Connection will play at 6 p.m. and that Saturday's music will conclude with Christmas carols from the church choir at 7:30 p.m. On the concluding day Limes will return to the piano at noon.
The event has grown each year. In 2001 it offered 192 Nativities and 178 people attended. Last year more than 700 scenes were on display, in almost every imaginable medium, and more than 800 people attended.
"It's a pleasant respite from the hustle and bustle," said Shively. "It's just a chance to take some time and enjoy the peace and music and different art forms. ... It's such a different event from normal Christmas activities. It's not commercial. It's not fast paced. It's at your own pace. It's a take-your-time event."
Donations will be accepted for the Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry.
A drawing will be held to give away several Nativities to guests.

One of the Nativity scenes is seen at a previous display at the Interfaith Nativity Festival in Perrysburg. (Photo: Photo provided)
PERRYSBURG - The "Interfaith Nativity Festival" sponsored by The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold its annual event with daily hors from 1 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6-8.  The public is invited to attend this event with free admission for all.
It will be held at the church's Cultural Hall, located at 11050 Avenue Road (Ohio 795) in Perrysburg. It is west of Interstate 75.
Organizers invite everyone to begin the Christmas season by focusing on its true purpose - the birth of Jesus Christ.
The scene is laid out similar to a Middle Eastern market, with individual sections separating groups of Nativity sets.
Though not held last year, due to a scheduling conflict, in 2012, there were more than 500 sets on display from around the world.
The festival includes appropriate music for the season and children's activities.
There will also be available complementary family photos on Dec. 7 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Three different congregations are contributing to the display.
One of the organizers, Paul Wibbeler says they have displayed Native American depictions as well as from island locales such as Japan and the Philippines.
"It is a complete mix," Wibbeler states.
A variety of musical selections will be featured including The Toledo Diocesan Bell Choir at 7 p.m. Dec. 6; The Dec. 7 lineup includes Bill Mathis and Friends at 2 p.m.; Festive Flutes at 3 p.m. featuring Peggy Eckel, coordinator, Sharla Cook, Hazel Deuble, Greg Kreps, Sandy Krichbaum, Rusty Nancy Phlegar, Jeanne Westervelt and Sarah Rumple; and Gabbie Roderer and friends. That evening's line-up includes Toledo Stake Youth Choirs at 6 and Toledo Choral Society at 7 p.m.
The final day will feature Saunders Family Singers, Angie Remaley Tera Matthews and Mark Whitmer.
On Dec. 8 there will also be a Christmas Devotional from Salt Lake City to conclude the festival at 8 p.m.
Organizers note it is a display enjoyed by both young and old and has become a Christmas tradition for many families in the community.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2013 11:27

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