New Life Christian Church offers free drive-thru Nativity scene
Published 9:56 am Friday, December 5, 2014
Gloria in excelsis Deo
They call it their Christmas card to the community.
The New Life Christian Church tonight and Saturday will host the 21st annual drive-thru live Nativity at the church, 1705 S.E. Marshall St.
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People are invited to drive their automobiles through the church’s parking lot from 7 to 9 p.m. both days to see live actors and animals re-enact the birth and life of Jesus Christ.
“We hope it sets the tone and reminds them why we celebrate,” said Jerry Copas, one of the directors. “This isn’t about Black Friday.”
There are about eight separate scenes in the nativity, starting with the prophetic promise and ending with the crucifixion and empty tomb of Christ. There will be live animals, including a camel, sheep, donkey and cow.
Copas said the event incorporates typically about 100 volunteers from New Life Christian Church, the Albert Lea Vineyard Church and other friends.
Some participate in the scenes outside, while others help inside getting the actors dressed or serving soup, hot chocolate and coffee to volunteers to keep them warm. Two sets of volunteers rotate outside every 20 minutes.
“It’s really fun,” said volunteer Wayne Griffith, who was helping set up some of the scenes on Wednesday. “The fellowship is wonderful.”
Copas said people from as far away as 60 to 80 miles attend, including several busloads from out of town.
The event started small with just four scenes but has blossomed over the years, he said.
People will be asked to enter the drive of the church parking lot from the east on S.E. Marshall Street. Volunteers and signs will be set up to direct drivers.
Copas estimated a 10-minute wait at most to get into the parking lot.
Cars need to turn off their lights as they enter, and spotlights will light the way.
People will be greeted at the start by volunteers and given a brochure that describes each scene.
Though some people in the past have wished to donate to the Nativity, Copas said the church would ask that donations instead go to support the Albert Lea Salvation Army.
The Nativity is directed by Copas and his wife, Cindy, and Sue and Richard Foss.
If you go …
What: 21st annual drive-thru live Nativity
Where: New Life Christian Church,
1705 S.E. Marshall St., Albert Lea
When: 7 to 9 p.m. today and Saturday.