BETHEL — Fifty years after resident Sue Farrar organized Bethel’s first Living Nativity performance, the Bethel Alliance Church will continue the long-lasting tradition at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Bethel Common.

The Rev. Kevin Belanger said Monday morning that over the years, the Living Nativity has “very much become a community event” and that its strength “lies in the hands of the volunteers who help organize it.

“We send out an invitation to the other churches in the area to participate, and we allow any residents who wish to sing in the choir or perform in some way to join,” Belanger said.

Farrar, who passed away in June, held the town’s first Living Nativity in 1964, inviting dozens of residents to perform during three consecutive performances.

Belanger said that in its early years, the Living Nativity was “much better attended.”

“From what I’ve heard, there used to be well over a thousand people showing up for the multiple performances,” Belanger said. “I’ve been here for about ten years now, and I’d say that right now, the Living Nativity brings in, at most, 200 people. We’re hoping for a good turnout this year, since it’s the 50th anniversary of the first Living Nativity.”


Belanger said that there will be scripture readings during the Living Nativity, with singing from the choir interspersed throughout.

“Generally, the choir is made up of anyone who wants to sing along,” Belanger said. “It could be someone from one of the local churches or someone from the community.”

The performance typically takes between 40 minutes and an hour, Belanger said.

“After the performance is done, everyone is welcome to meet at the Dr. Moses Mason House for Christmas refreshments,” Belanger added.

For more information, call Belanger at 824-2289.

[email protected]

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