Church members perform Live Nativity
By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
East Haddam - posted Mon., Dec. 16, 2013
The Live Nativity at Christ Community Church was well attended on the evening of Friday, Dec. 13, as cars lined up at 7 p.m. to experience a drive-through celebration of the Christmas story.
The audience was able to remain in cars as they were greeted first by a church elder and then Pastor Victoria Triano herself, who called out a cheerful Merry Christmas to each set of visitors, and she then explained how to go through an archway and stop at each "station" to see the Nativity story enacted.
There was a colorfully-dressed guard, played by Joe Serra, who told visitors that the people of the region were ordered by Caesar Augustus to return to their home towns in order to be counted in the taxation census. It was this demand that had Mary and Joseph returning to their village, only to give birth to the Christ child in a manger.
Immediately after the guard, there was a display of three angels, children and animals who heralded visitors on their way. They were all children and adult members of the church who were playing roles while bundled up warmly beneath beautifully-constructed costumes resembling clothing of the times.
Suddenly, there was an inn, and actors knocked on the door only to be told, "The inn is full, move on," and then the inn-keeper said even a couple about to have a child was in the nearby manger.
A camel named Polly, who lives in East Hampton when she is not acting, was lying down to stay warm in the cold night. Two young llamas were curious and eyed visitors with friendly looks. A goat and a few young sheep were clustered in yet another area where children dressed in costume petted and played with them.
In the manger, church members were performing as Mary and Joseph and an archangel was standing above them. Craftsmen of the church had created a mechanism that allowed the angel to twist and turn to greet visitors with her arms held high, illuminated by an electrified halo.
A bit further on, the three wise men, played by Bruce Wallace, Ben Kegley and Ray Serra, were speaking to a shepherd played by Liam Mathis.
Pastor Triano said all the scenes and moving sets were created by master craftsmen and carpenters who belong to the church. "We have so many talented tradesmen here," she said.
The Live Nativity was only for one night this year; due to the pending storm, the church cancelled the performance planned for Saturday night.