Starkdale to present live nativity on Sunday

STEUBENVILLE — The eighth-annual Live Nativity at Starkdale Presbyterian Church in Steubenville is scheduled for Sunday with six presentations repeated every half-hour starting at 5 p.m. The final one begins at 7:30 p.m.

The live nativity is an indoor/outdoor production about the birth of Jesus, followed by an opportunity to pet animals, meet the actors and enjoy refreshments in the fellowship hall. Starkdale’s pastor, the Rev. Carl Moore, will be present to welcome and visit with guests in the fellowship hall.

Director Mary Beth Allan said, “I am so thrilled to be involved in this event that has quickly become a tradition for many Ohio Valley families. What better way to emphasize Christ in Christmas than to recount the evening of his birth?”

The journey begins at the Bethlehem Inn where guests are greeted by the inn keepers, who explain that they have no room at the inn due to Caesar Augustus’ order that everyone must register in his home town.

They will explain that they just turned away a young couple, a woman heavy with child.

Along with the inn keepers, portrayed by Gary and Jill Wickham, Centurion guards and tax collectors will be on hand to make sure every person registers and pays taxes, per order of Caesar Augustus.

The guests are then summoned by a shepherd and led through the streets of Bethlehem — the church hallway — and into a field — the church sanctuary — where shepherd Bob Burns begins the narration of the birth of Christ.

An angel, Olivia Chanoski, appears to the crowd and sings “Mary Did You Know?” Also, Jason Baker will lend his voice in a solo, and the Starkdale Choir, directed by Carolyn Glaub, appears as a myriad of angels with heavenly voices, singing Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”

The guests are then led outside where they view the nativity scene consisting of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Angels, shepherds and animals also will be at the manger. Vicki Littlejohn will continue the narration and lead the crowd in singing Christmas carols.

The three kings also make an appearance as they bear gifts to all in attendance.

Finally, guests are treated to homemade cookies and hot drinks prepared by the Starkdale congregation.

Jane Gambos, outreach elder, said, “The live nativity is one of the church’s ways of sharing the gift of Jesus Christ. It is our gift to the community at large — free of charge.”

Last year’s attendance was approximately 400. In anticipation of another large turnout, a shuttle van will be available to accommodate “even more” guests this year. Parking and shuttle service, via the Starkdale church van, will be available at the top of Riesbeck’s Food Market directly behind the Wintersville McDonald’s.

A convenient guest drop-off point located near the inn in the upper level parking lot also will be available.

For information about the presentations or other Starkdale activities, contact the church office at (740) 264-5309, visit www.starkdale.org or check out the church’s Facebook page.

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