The Andover Townsman
---- — Residents are invited to a live retelling of the story of the first Christmas, complete with animals, next weekend outside West Parish Garden Cemetery.
West Parish Church is planning its 34th annual Outdoor Christmas Pageant for Saturday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m.
“Join us as Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus arrive at the historic West Parish Garden Cemetery Arch and once again becomes the entrance to Bethlehem. This annual reenactment of the Christmas story includes a cast of children, youth and adults and a stable of live animals, provided by Ironstone Farm,” according to a release from the church. “Through drama, narration, and carols the audience shares in the miracle of Christmas as Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem, the shepherds seek out the manger, and the wise men bring their gifts.”
The biblical account of Jesus’ birth and modern-day stories such as the “Littlest Angel” and the “Little Drummer Boy” are included in the reenactment.
Over its 33 years, many past and present Andover families have been involved with the pageant.
This year, Blake Martin will portray Basil the Innkeeper, and Jim Olson is the narrator.
The public is invited to attend the free half-hour performance of gospel narration and choral accompaniment. Afterwards people are welcome to photograph the living nativity scene and to enjoy refreshments in West Parish’s Fellowship Hall.
The Ministry of Outreach will accept non-perishable food items at the archway prior to the pageant. These will be donated to local food pantries.
The public is invited to join West Parish Church’s Christmas Eve services, which are open to all; there will be a family service at 5 p.m. and a candlelight service at 10 p.m. Both evening services will be celebrated with carols and readings.
West Parish Church, United Church of Christ, describes itself as an Open and Affirming church, and is located at 129 Reservation Road, at the intersection of Route 133 (Lowell Street) and Shawsheen Road, approximately two miles east of Interstate 93. For details call the church between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 978-475-3528, or visit westparishchurch.org.