“Last year, my husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to take a lovely drive down to Rushford to experience the Nativity at Root River Community Church. We could imagine ourselves coming from other parts of Israel to go to Bethlehem. We heard the news of something quite mysterious and we wanted to see and hear for ourselves,” recalled Julie Miller. She had attended the live Nativity held at the Root River Community Church last year.
The congregation is once again planning this special Christmas event, set for Sunday, December 11, and Monday, December 12, from 6-8 p.m. at the church, located at 503 Nannestad Lane in Rushford.
Laurie Syverson explained this will be the second year the live Nativity has been held. “We want to provide something special for our community,” she explained. “The truth of Christmas has much to offer to a broken world filled with confusion and uncertainty. There is one who offers hope, and that is Jesus!”
The production includes the usual cast of historical characters, Mary and Joseph, Roman soldiers, shepherds, wisemen and angels. Live animals are brought in to enhance the experience, including sheep, goats, donkeys and alpacas who stand in for the camels!
“It is a simple set, but we tried to add pieces that would make it seem real, like you were there,” explained Syverson.
The scenes and set were created using the descriptions from the Bible, specifically the book of Luke, Chapter 2.
Syverson said their greatest dilemma when planning the Nativity was trying to be as accurate as possible, but not being able to find a camel for the wisemen’s scene. “We couldn’t locate any to be rented, so we found alpacas to use instead. “They were great,” she said, and they journeyed to Rushford for the Nativity from Rockie Top Alpaca Acres in Spring Valley.
The church invites all to make their own journey to Rushford to experience the live Nativity on Sunday and Monday evenings.
Miller was touched greatly by the event last year. “Others were approaching the city as we were, and the anticipation grew,” she recalled. “We were greeted right away with something warm to drink and then directed to where ‘The Star’ had been leading us and to where all the happenings were being played out. There were angels singing, telling us of a miraculous birth, and there were the parents of this newborn right there.
“But there was more,” she continued. “This wasn’t the usual Nativity drive-through with the events that we think of at Christmas, but this was a time to experience the place of these events, both in history and for the future as well. We saw where the predictions came to pass and where we can have our hope for the future as well.”
Miller said she is looking forward to going back to “Israel” again this year to remind her of the deeper meaning of Christmas.
The Root River Community Church is a non-denominational Bible-teaching church. Syverson stated, “We believe the Bible in its entirety. We want to reach the community with the good news of Jesus Christ.”
In the coming year, the congregation will be starting a new church campus in Harmony, where it will continue to spread the message and mission to encourage people to form a connection to Jesus.
The church operates on a foundation that Jesus “does not desire religion from us, but a relationship.”
Ministries and missions focus around adults and youth alike. Members are urged to connect with smaller groups, attend Bible study and classes or to join a ministry team.
Worship services in Rushford are held at 9 a.m. each Sunday morning or one can view the message online at rootriver.org.
The land for the Harmony church has been purchased and plans for building a church are underway. However, the church plans to begin organizing in a temporary location after the first of the year.
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