Journey to Bethlehem
PICTURE # 1 Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel (George Moretz) to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. A virgin (Brooke Scheckler) pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God. " "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
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."