A friend of Renee Keiper of Kunkletown told her about how their church presented the Christmas story.
She excitedly told members of the CIA (Christians In Action) group at St. Matthew's UCC in Kunkletown last year of what she envisioned. The creative juices began to flow and the seeds for a "Journey to Bethlehem" began to grow.
Renee's original vision was to get the community involved so it would be a Kunkletown community event, not just a St. Matthew's Church event.
"We were very fortunate to have the local Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops and Mrs. Bush's Personal Care home step forward to be part of The Journey. God's word needs to spread and what better way than telling the greatest story ever told."
What resulted was a simple but moving pageant told in 11 scenes ... 10 of them outside. It was a re-enactment of the events leading up to the birth of Christ, as narrated by Kaitlyn Heffelfinger, Abby Huber, Brenda Dorshimer and the Rev. Suzanne Brooks-Cope. The walk took visitors from when the angel Gabriel told Mary she would bear a child, even though a virgin, to a lowly stable where the Christ Child was born over 2000 years ago.
There was no charge. All that was asked was that visitors bring an unperishable food item to be donated to the Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network.
"It looked like the donations will help fill the shelves at PVEN to fill Christmas baskets. In fact, I have received donations from folks that couldn't make the Journey but still wanted to contribute," says Renee.
"We are so blessed to be a part of St. Matthew's UCC and to have a church family that knows the importance of spreading God's word. If everyone was as fortunate as we are and had Jesus in their hearts, we wouldn't have tragedies like Newtown, CT."