Not so far away in a manger, over at West Minot Church of God, located at 1105-16th St. N.W., in fact, a living nativity scene was on display for everyone interested in seeing what the Bible says transpired more than 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.
West Minot Church of God offered a live nativity scene Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. featuring people and animals, as well as a petting area for people to pet some of the animals. The animals were provided by the Rocky Top Ranch Petting Zoo. Coffee and hot chocolate were also available to help keep people warm in the nearly sub-zero temperatures.
This is the third year that West Minot Church of God has presented their live nativity scene, according to associate pastor Chris Ondrovich, and the second time they have had live animals. "We were able to get in contact with Rocky Top Ranch and bring a good story to life," he added.
At the living nativity scene presented by West Minot Church of God, 1105-16th St. N.W., on Saturday, there were actors portraying Mary, Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds, along with real animals provided by the Rocky Top Ranch Petting Zoo. From 4 to 8 p.m., the public could stop by and visit with the actors, pet the animals, and enjoy coffee or hot chocolate to keep warm while listening to the story of Jesus’ birth.
Originally, senior pastor Jeff Heber had the idea to offer a living nativity to the community, Ondrovich thought, but everyone in the church supported it and have helped make it a reality.
The actors portraying Mary, Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds were all volunteers. There were three shifts with three people playing each role, Ondrovich explained. Some people volunteered to stay in character for as long as they were needed, he added, or play other roles during the other shifts.
During the four hours that the living nativity scene took place, Ondrovich said he and the actors would take the opportunity to talk about the story of Jesus' birth when visiting with people. There were also Christmas carols playing in the background and every 10 minutes a reading of the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible would play.
There weren't any big difficulties or challenges, aside from the cold, in presenting the living nativity scene. However, Ondrovich said that Minot is a little tough with their animal laws and that the Minot Police Department had visited a few times to see how things were going. "Everything has gone well, (though)," he added.
The whole purpose of this presentation was to bring life to the greatest story, Ondrovich remarked. "We wanted to let families interact with the actors and the animals and to hear the story in a new and different way."