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Return to Bethlehem will take visitors back in time

Posted: December 5, 2012 - 3:28pm
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Kassidy Hammett,16, laughs as she tries on belts to go with her costume for the Return to Bethlehem event  at Grace United Methodist Church. Hammett said she will be in the bakery scene.    SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Kassidy Hammett,16, laughs as she tries on belts to go with her costume for the Return to Bethlehem event at Grace United Methodist Church. Hammett said she will be in the bakery scene.

Return to Bethlehem will take visitors back in time.

“It’s a re-enactment of Biblical events leading to the birth of Christ,” said Marianne Harlan, director of worship arts and administrator for Grace United Methodist Church.

The free event is being held today through Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the field beside Grace United Methodist Church.

Those who are handicapped can drive through the scenes, but must be parked in front of the church’s Wesley Center by 5:45 p.m. each night.

“It’s a gift to the community from Grace United Methodist Church,” said Harlan. “It represents God’s gift to us which is free – his gift of love.”

The production includes 25 scenes from the annunciation to the manger. There will also be live animals and artists at work.

About 400 people make up the cast. There will also be guides who will each portray a Biblical character and will guide visitors on through the scenes.

“You take in the sights and smells of what it would have been like,” she said.

Being a part of such a production is a great way to reach out to the community and share the story of Jesus’s birth, said Brittany Wisner, who will portray Mary during the event.

“You’ve read the story, but to be a part of it, it’s a different story,” she said.

“It makes it more real,” added Margaret McKibbin, who assisted with the costume fittings for the event.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Return to Bethlehem

When: 6-9 p.m. today through Saturday; those who are handicapped and wish to drive through must be parked in front of the Wesley Center by 5:45 p.m. each night

Where: Grace United Methodist Church, 639 Georgia Ave.

Cost: Free

Information: (803) 279-7525

Other: Visitors are asked to go to the church’s main sanctuary and guides will lead groups from there through the production.

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