Residents and visitors to the Kenai Peninsula will have a unique opportunity this year to travel back to old-world Bethlehem in a unique outdoor experience called "Bethlehem Revisited." The idea and elaborate effort is spearheaded by Becky Moore at the College Heights Baptist Church located on K-Beach Rd. "I was in Texas one year at Christmas time and we visited a reenactment of the first Christmas that left me spellbound, because I really felt like I was walking the streets of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. So I thought it was something that our congregation could bring to the Peninsula," Moore told the Dispatch. "Just imagine going back in time 2,000 years and thinking of what you might see in the streets of Bethlehem and you'll see here in our court. The streets will be bustling with people coming to be counted for the census and pay taxes, you'll see all kinds of shops and vendors typical of the marketplace, the Innkeeper, King Herod, the shepherds and wise men, and we'll even have the reenactment of the birth of Jesus," said Moore.
According to Scott Coffman, pastor of College Heights Baptist Church, this will be a new experience for him as well. "This is a first for us. We've never done anything like this before, but more than half of our congregation is involved in one way or another with the program. The purpose is to make this a community event for all to come by, see and experience, rather than just inviting folks to come into the church for Christmas services, rather than telling the Christmas story, we want to show the story in real life so people can see, feel and experience and maybe ask questions about the first Christmas if they come up," said Pastor Coffman.
Bethlehem Revisited will be open daily beginning Sunday, December 20th through Wednesday, December 23rd from 5:00pm - 8:00pm and while the stable, fire pits, and some 22 shops have been constructed outside of the church, visitors will be welcome to come inside for hot chocolate and apple cider and the chance to enjoy the Christmas films; "The Star of Bethlehem" and "A Case for Christmas."
"Everyone is welcome to come by, walk through, share the experience, and stay as long as they like. It's really for the entire family, from grandparents and senior adults to the youngest children, regardless of any religious affiliation and is free for all to come by and check out the way it might have been 2,000 years ago right here in our community. It is outside, so dress warm and then come in and warm up with some cocoa and a free movie if you like," added Amy Blackwell.
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