Bethlehem Comes to Life

Bethlehem Comes to Life Many churches celebrate the holidays indoors with concerts or plays. To close out 2006, the Auburn Academy Church decided to celebrate the holidays indoors and outdoors with Journey to Bethlehem. The interactive tour—a first-time venture for this congregation—attracted approximately 1,500 people, with some people coming from as far as two hours away. “We expected 1,000 people over three nights,” explained Judy Toop, a ticket giver. “People are excited about coming, even when we tell them that there is an hour (or more) long wait.” Journey to Bethlehem, a three-night production, traced the birth of Jesus. It included an indoor musical concert, colorful sets, drama and live animals. Guides offered free 30-minute tours every 15 minutes and helped to bring the biblical story to life. Guests saw the gifts of the wisemen, toured the marketplace of downtown Bethlehem, registered with the Roman census taker, talked with the shepherds and celebrated the birth of Christ. Inside the city gates, the marketplace buzzed with the activity of the blacksmith, the food sellers, the Roman guards, the village dancers and the craftspeople. Debbie Gamble, from Auburn, Wash., was impressed with the quality of the production. “It’s very realistic and authentic,” she said, as she sipped hot cider after her tour. "Journey to Bethlehem was a meaningful experience for the Auburn Academy Church," said Bill Roberts, senior pastor. "It was a faith journey that brought us closer together as a church and closer together as a community."

Bethlehem Comes to Life

Many churches celebrate the holidays indoors with concerts or plays. To close out 2006, the Auburn Academy Church decided to celebrate the holidays indoors and outdoors with Journey to Bethlehem.

The interactive tour—a first-time venture for this congregation—attracted approximately 1,500 people, with some people coming from as far as two hours away.

“We expected 1,000 people over three nights,” explained Judy Toop, a ticket giver. “People are excited about coming, even when we tell them that there is an hour (or more) long wait.”

Journey to Bethlehem, a three-night production, traced the birth of Jesus. It included an indoor musical concert, colorful sets, drama and live animals. Guides offered free 30-minute tours every 15 minutes and helped to bring the biblical story to life.

Guests saw the gifts of the wisemen, toured the marketplace of downtown Bethlehem, registered with the Roman census taker, talked with the shepherds and celebrated the birth of Christ.

Inside the city gates, the marketplace buzzed with the activity of the blacksmith, the food sellers, the Roman guards, the village dancers and the craftspeople.

Debbie Gamble, from Auburn, Wash., was impressed with the quality of the production. “It’s very realistic and authentic,” she said, as she sipped hot cider after her tour.

"Journey to Bethlehem was a meaningful experience for the Auburn Academy Church," said Bill Roberts, senior pastor. "It was a faith journey that brought us closer together as a church and closer together as a community."

February 01, 2007 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference communication intern