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First Lutheran to host ‘Come to the Manger’, live nativity

By Staff | Nov 22, 2016

A nativity scene, donated by Kevin and Alyson Schepp, will be one of the many showcased at Come to the Manger, held on December 4. (Carissa Mavec/PCT)

First Lutheran Church is hosting “Come to the Manger,” its seventh annual display of treasured nativity sets in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday, December 4 from 10 a.m. 5 p.m. The display will highlight a variety of interesting, unique and special family nativities.

Nativity sets in the past have featured Inuit people and Mexican people, as well as people from various Scandinavian and European cultures. Other nativities have been from other countries, such as one that was brought from Vatican City in Italy.

Nativities have been made from paper, cardboard, ceramics, glass, clay and more. One set was made up entirely of moose representations.

“Anything goes with these sets,” Karen Christenson, member of the Women of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (WELCA) said.

WELCA has headed the nativity display since its beginning at First Lutheran.

This year, First Lutheran will be debuting a live nativity scene during the celebration. An idea from Karen Schilke, the living nativity will include people dressed as the Holy Family, as well as animals. Confirmed animals are a donkey, goats, a miniature pony and sheep. Christenson said she is still looking for a calf to be part of the scene.

Animals are being donated by Lennie and Pat Ferguson and Daryl and Susan Selensky.

“There’s some new parts that we haven’t had before, and we’re really excited about this,” Reverend Elaine Sveet, pastor of First Lutheran, said. “We’re hoping that guests will come and receive this gift to the community, as we call it.”

The live nativity will take place outside the church doors and will be held from 10 a.m. 3 p.m., ending two hours before the inside portion of the event. People are encouraged to attend before the Christmas Concert, being held the same day, in order to take advantage of the live nativity.

“We have to end early in order to get the animals home before dark,” Christenson said.

Families will be able to bring their cameras and take photos with the live nativity scene.

Nativity sets can be donated and dropped off at First Lutheran in the afternoon on both Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3. Volunteers are needed for set-up of the nativities in the Fellowship Hall on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Pick-up will be Sunday at 5 p.m., at the event’s closing.

All donated nativities are well managed by WELCA and volunteers. “We promise to treat your treasured sets with tender love and care. Anybody can bring a nativity, whether from inside the community or outside,” Christenson said.

Christenson would like to thank both Linda Warner and Jeanie Kukla for their immense help and volunteerism over the years.

“Some of these nativities are really elaborate, and we do respect that,” Warner said. “There are a lot of neat stories that go along with them.”

Donors can share information about each set, such as the owner’s name, the history of the set, and its special characteristics.

In the past, anywhere from 30-75 nativity sets have been shown.

“We would love to be full of nativity scenes,” Sveet said. “It’s a very special event.”

Those interested in donating a nativity or helping with the event can contact the church office at 776-5801.

Light refreshments will be provided.

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