United Methodist Church in Highland plans living Nativity display

A live outdoor nativity scene is planned to take place at the First United Methodist Church in Highland on Dec. 14, 15 and 21, 22. The church is looking for live farm animals for the display as well as donations of bales of hay, lumber and light fencing to accomplish this re-enactment of the Holy Night. The model in the photograph is 16-year-old Highland High School junior Sarah Brown. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

There is a live outdoor Nativity scene planned for the hamlet of Highland at the First United Methodist Church over the course of two weekends this December. Felicia Casey, the driving force behind the living Nativity show, said that she was inspired to do it for several reasons. “Our hamlet is hidden, and we’re in need of more financial support, more visitors to help lighten up our beautiful downtown,” she said. “I wanted to do something that helped put Christ back into Christmas, as well as attracting people from other towns and counties to our hamlet. In my lifetime I’ve never experienced a live Nativity scene, and thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate Highland and Christmas.”

Casey, the Thrift Shop manager for the First United Methodist Church, has cleared out the shop’s garage and is working on a backdrop for the event that will have scenes of Israel and the three camels. “It will be a fairly wind-free and heated environment, but with an outdoor component that will be unique,” she said.

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Casey is looking for folks to volunteer as actors and actresses for the living Nativity show. You don’t need a background in theater, but simply a willingness to “be part of the scene for an hour or hour-and-a-half at a time,” Casey explained. “I will rotate people so that no one is standing for the entire time.”

She is also looking for four-legged actors/actresses including a burro, horse, sheep and goats for the display. “Having live animals will really be a great attraction and help to make the Nativity scene come to life,” she said. There are several other donations needed to make the display a success, including bales of hay, light fencing and some lumber to accomplish this reenactment of the Holy Night.

“I’m hoping that people will really come forward to make this a great event,” she said. “There are so many Italians in Highland, so many Catholics and Christians who are always saying that Christmas should be more about Christ and less about materialism. Well…this is a beautiful way to achieve that.”

Although a member of the Church and a Catholic herself, Casey said that she sees this as a real civic calling. “Our church is in need of a new roof, a new heating system; and the more we can do to strengthen the visibility and economy of our downtown, the better off we all are, especially the church,” she said.

The living Nativity scene is scheduled, weather permitting, for Friday and Saturday evenings, December 14, 15, 21 and 22 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. If you want to volunteer, participate or donate, reach out to Casey at feliciacasey@gmail.com.

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