Live nativity set for Dec. 16

United Methodist prepares for annual tradition

“We teach people that it’s not all about Santa and the presents, but it’s about Jesus,” Sophia Welch, a member of Bowman United Methodist’s live nativity scène, said.

By Chris Slone

The Bowman United Methodist Church has been performing a live nativity scene for close to 20 years, according to Judy Sparks.

It’s an outdoor event, with live miniature animals — including donkeys, sheep and cows. The nativity is narrated using a CD. Each performance takes 15-20 minutes. After each performance, the audience gets an opportunity to take photos before the next show. The church holds as many performances as possible within an hour.

“They have soup before, during and after the show,” Sparks said. “People can come out and watch it whenever they want too.”

This year, the nativity is set for Sunday night, Dec. 16. 

“Even though we do the same thing every year, it’s still a different experience every time,” Olivia Welch said. “It’s really a privilege to be the lead Angel because you have to be the oldest in the group to do it. I’ve gotten to do it for two years now.”

Kennedy Blankenbaker said she’s been in the nativity scene since she was 3 or 4.

“So about 10 years. We can’t remember a time when we haven’t done it,” Blankenbaker said. “The first time you walk out there and there’s a hundred or 200 hundred people out there, it’s amazing.”

Cory Marman echoed those sentiments.

“See a whole bunch of people around the nativity, it’s special,” Marman said.

Sparks said the children begin asking in September if they are doing the live nativity scene. There was one year the church didn’t conduct a live nativity scene and Sparks said it was a big letdown in the community.

“It’s a passion. I did it one year with a broken arm and a broken rib,” Sparks said. “I just feel it’s a way of giving to the community the real meaning of Christmas.”