Westview adds scene to Bethlehem tour

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2016

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. “

The local community will have the opportunity to take a walk through Bethlehem and get a glimpse of how things might have been during the birth of Jesus.

Opp’s Westview Baptist Church will hold its “A Walk Through Bethlehem” next weekend.

It is held near a pond on church property and was a vision of music director Roger McLain.

For the last three years, the church has operated using its new set-up, which includes the scene in which Mary and Joseph are turned away from the inn, followed by a stop at the manger scene.

Henry the camel, a perennial nativity star, along with donkeys and sheep, add to the authenticity of the scene.

McLain said church members have spent the last few months building additional sets and making the outdoor drama event better.

“We have created a large market scene,” he said. “We have a fish market, bread baking, basket weaving, a lot of pottery baskets. It’s just very busy.”

The event is free to the community on Dec. 16-18, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“We have been able to use this ministry for the glory of God since 2012, when it first began,” he said. “It has been made possible thanks to the hundreds of volunteers at our church. The Walk Through Bethlehem set takes months to construct. Men give up their Saturday mornings to build the city. Several ladies in our church have sewn many authentic-looking costumes. The city includes several scenes and shops, approximately a hundred costumed characters, many volunteers and lots of live animals.”

McLain said that in 2012, they had no idea what to expect as far as attendance.

“We have over a thousand attend in the beginning and it has grown every year,” he said. “Each year it seems that God sends us more people to meet and to introduce to our Savior. What is significant is that we are able to give every person that attends the opportunity to hear about the Christ of Christmas and why He came. Walk Through Bethlehem is only an experience, but having a relationship with Christ is something that lasts forever. The experience will not change you, but Christ will.”

McLain said since the event is outdoors, event-goers should take care to keep the weather in mind and dress appropriately to better enjoy the presentation.

The tour is not suitable for walker, wheelchair or motorized scooter users.

Guests must be able to walk about half a mile during the tour of Bethlehem.

“We will do our best to move groups into, and through, the tour as quickly as possible,” McLain said. “We will have golf carts only for the handicapped and elderly.”

McLain said that he, Pastor Gary Miller and the staff welcome all to attend the event.