On a cool night in East Greenwich one could hear the crackling of a fire and the rustling of animals around the United Methodist Church. Scenes set up as in biblical times scattered the parking lot. Tours following the "story of Christmas" were seen going on throughout the night. One could see, feel, smell, and hear the stories of this living nativity.
Last year rain cancelled the Living Nativity event at the East Greenwich United Methodist Church, but this year about 200 people came to take the nativity tours.
Carol Reale, Pastor of Christian Education said, "Many people are involved in setting the event up."
She said the worship ministry team, education ministry team, and fellowship ministry team all work together to put the pieces of the event in place.
The night consisted of a nativity tour around the parking lot, refreshments inside the church, and music and singing. The tour took groups to visit the three wise men, the shepherds in their fields, the Inn that had "no room" for Mary and Joseph, the Angel scene, and finally to the stables where Mary and Joseph sat by the manger like in the town of Bethlehem on the night of Jesus' birth.
This free event for the public is put on by church members.
"I think it's important and it's fun to do," said Ali Decesare, age 13, who participated as a narrator and singer. She also mentioned that she liked the goats.
The goats and a 10-day-old baby calf named "Little Snowflake" drew a lot of attention. Kids and adults alike enjoyed petting the animals and seeing how they interacted with each other. The goats seemed to spar with each other over food. Little Snowflake slept and liked to lick the fingers of those petting her.
The animals definitely added to the scene of what it was like during the time Jesus was born, as well as the fires for light and heat and the lanterns that lit the way.
"I think it informs people about what happens in the story," said Jaclyn Steen, age 12, who was dressed-up and participating in the event.
Ellen Moore served as a narrator for the event. She took groups through a luminaria-lit path of different scenes of the Christmas story, carried a lantern to light the way, and told the story of Jesus' birth.
"It's just a wonderful event to be able to reach out to the East Greenwich community and inspire us to remember what the Advent season is all about," said Moore.
"We were very blessed to have a nice night for the event," Reale said.