By Valerie Baldowski
Locust Grove United Methodist Church celebrated the Christmas season this year with a special holiday production.
The church drama department put on a live Nativity performance on Dec. 20. The performance was directed by Elisa Reece, the children's minister at the church.
Reece said three different versions of the Scriptures -- the Living Bible, a Children's Bible, and the King James version -- were used to provide the storyline. The Nativity scene reached out to all denominations, and provided an opportunity for everyone to unite for one night, she added.
The minister emphasized the importance of the message the performances delivered. "In today's society, I don't feel like we get a chance to express our beliefs as much as we'd like," she said. "This is one way we can express it -- through drama."
Bill Curington, the pastor of Locust Grove United Methodist, described the Live Nativity scene as rather unique. Using real people and animals, instead of statues delivers the true meaning of Christmas more powerfully, said Curington.
"It's one thing to read about God on the printed page," he added. "It's another thing to see it in front of you."
The actors did not have speaking parts, but the story was told by a narrator, according to Curington.
"Many years ago, at Locust Grove United Methodist, they did a Walk Through Bethlehem," said Reece. "One of the [church] members was telling me about it, and I thought we could do something like that."
The church's production used nine wise men, nine shepherds, three Marys and three Josephs, Reece added. Six shows were held, spaced 30 minutes apart.
The production took six weeks to rehearse, used more than 35 people, and featured five different acts focusing on the Nativity scene.