The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 13, 2012

Benson Chapel presents indoor live Nativity


COVINGTON, Ind. — For several years Benson Chapel United Methodist Church featured a live Nativity along the driveway of the church along U.S. Route 136 west of Covington.

On many years, it would be the coldest evenings in December, and at least once they were forced to cancel the performances.

Last year, with little publicity, the church featured an indoor live Nativity that attracted about 100 visitors.

With renewed energy from the congregation, the church again is staging "A Journey to the Messiah" for three hours Sunday, but this year’s event will be different.

“This story will be told by an older Mary and Joseph as they look back," said Dawn Dixon, co-chairwoman of the live Nativity. It will start in a Market Place with potters and weavers.

"Mary will meet up with Joseph, who will tell you what it was like," she said.

The angels will appear as visitors begin their journey.

"They will meet up with a pregnant Mary, census takers, the innkeeper and the manger scene," said Patty Gritten, co-chairwoman.

It will take visitors about 20 minutes to complete the journey. Prior to beginning the journey, visitors are invited for supper in the fellowship room.

"Almost everyone in the church is involved," Dixon said. "They are either in a scene or helping with the meal." About 50-60 members are involved.

"We were very pleased (with last year)," Dixon said. "We got lots of positive feedback. We have a lot more involved this year."

The church has a basement full of clothing for the drama scenes as they added various parts to the story during the years.

"We have added angels and wise men," Gritten said.

"Our congregation is older," Gritten said. "Putting the whole set together takes time. The older people didn’t want to stand outside (in the cold)."

A lot of it, especially the sanctuary, will be decorated after worship Sunday.

"This is an outreach to the community," Dixon said. "It went along with our food pantry and Buddy bags programs."

Dixon and Gritten said they are thrilled by the excitement they get from the congregation.

"You are never going to change the story," Dixon said.

The congregation hopes those who come will like their variations.

"You can change it up and deliver it in a different method." Gritten said.

Coming up

The indoor live Nativity at the Benson Chapel United Methodist Church will be from 4:30-7:30 p.m. EST Sunday. Enter through the doors to the fellowship room. The church is on U.S. Route 136 west of Covington, Ind.