Village offers glimpse of Bethlehem

<p>Ellen Pollick leads a llama around as actors portray people from Biblical times during the 2012 Journey to Bethlehem. This year's event opens Friday behind the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church.</p>

A small village will come to life this weekend — offering visitors an opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Bethlehem during Biblical times.

Organized by the Seventh-day Adventist churches in Hermiston and Irrigon, Journey to Bethlehem is Friday through Sunday from 5-8:30 p.m. behind the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church, 855 W. Highland Ave.

Tours last about 20-30 minutes, and there’s musical entertainment in the church’s sanctuary while people wait for their trip. Refreshments are served afterward in the fellowship hall. There’s no admission charge.

“It’s a gift to the community,” said Sheila Botti, drama coordinator.

The bustling scene includes live animals, food preparation and bartering villagers as more than 100 church members demonstrate what life may have been like during the time of Christ’s birth.

Although sometimes compared to a living Nativity, Botti said Journey to Bethlehem offers much more.

“It’s an interactive drama,” she said. “It’s not just something you’re observing.”

Visitors will see everything from shepherds, kings and prophets to a leper camp, a bustling market and a manger scene.

People in the village are baking bread, roasting mushrooms, carrots and chicken. In its sixth year, Botti said visitors who have taken the journey previously are encouraged to come back again.

“You’ll see something different because there’s so much to take in,” she said.

Encompassing about an acre, the village is constructed each year in the lot behind the church, said Sharon Peter, church secretary.

About 40 percent of the active members — from young children to seniors — of each of the three congregations lend a hand in the production, whether as an actor, wardrobe construction, decorations, tour guide, parking logistics, entertainment and refreshments.

“It takes almost all of us — it takes a village,” Botti said.


Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at or 541-564-4539.

Living Nativities

Journey to Bethlehem

WHEN: Friday, Saturday, Sunday

TIME: 5-8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church, 855 W. Highland Ave.

Live Nativity

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 15

TIME: 6-7 p.m. (walk-through only) 7-9 p.m. (drive or walk)

WHERE: Roy Raley Park, 1205 S.W. Court Ave., Pendleton

Living Nativity

WHEN: Dec. 21, 6-8 p.m.; Dec. 22, 4-6 p.m.

WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 191 E. Gladys Ave., Hermiston

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.