Journey to Bethlehem Attracts Huge Crowd

Members of the Meridian (Idaho) Church worked extremely hard for several months in preparation for the Journey to Bethlehem pageant which ran Dec. 11–12. The event has been staged for a number of years, but this time, with a renewed vision for connecting with community members. The church opened participation to anyone who wanted to be involved. As a result, many people came from a variety of denominations. With the new focus and nearly 100 participants, it was truly an event for the community — by the community.

Don and Audrey Rice, Meridian Church members, coordinated and directed the event, which included building nine booths and setting up two tents, a hotel and a manger scene. Irene Willis coordinated a group of seamstresses who made more than 60 costumes. Weekly rehearsals took place amid costume fittings and to the sound of music from a group of Messianic-Jewish dancers, practicing for their role. The cast also included several four-legged stars: a camel, a donkey, a sheep and several goats.

Personal invitations were sent out to all Bible-study interests, campaign interests, and hundreds of people who enjoyed Messiah's Mansion earlier last summer. Tammy DeWeerd, Meridian mayor, added her support and sent out notices to all the churches in Meridian.

"It was incredible to watch how unchurched community members connected with Meridian members," says Michael Pearson, pastor. "One of the volunteers who helped with set construction has requested baptism."

In all, nearly 1,000 visitors enjoyed the Journey to Bethlehem.

February 01, 2011 / Idaho Conference