9 churches combine for Nativity Saturday
ANTRIM — Inspired by a live, outdoor Nativity in Texas, one Antrim woman was so moved that she decided to coordinate and collaborate with local churches to produce a Nativity performance and realistic Jewish marketplace for the community during the holidays.
Jeanne Frizzell of the Baptist Church in Antrim said she saw this live Nativity 15 years ago during her own personal travels to Texas. “It had its impact on me,” Frizzell said in an interview Wednesday. “There were people outside with animals and with booths. I had just never forgotten it, and thought it would make a great event for Antrim.”
Nine churches have collaborated on this project, which includes two thirty-minute long performances, a Jewish marketplace located both inside and outside of Antrim’s Baptist Church, dance, live animals from local families and the Antrim Grange and different themed booths. The event will take place Saturday and the first performance will begin at 6:15 p.m. and the second at 7:15 p.m. Visitors can explore the marketplace as early as 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. as well as take pictures with the sheep and goats or the life-like camel statue, provided by the Wyatt family of Antrim. Hot cider, cocoa and cookies will be available also and the event is free.
All the costumes are being borrowed from the participating churches. “There is no funding. Each person is contributing their time,” Frizzell said. “You can do anything just about without any funding and there can still be great results.”
The only expense was on the part of the dancers who were required to pay for their dresses and ballet slippers. The collaboration also includes many community members including a client with the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center who is involved with the center’s adaptive dance program and will be dancing in the performance.
The actors’ hair will be styled by Paula Brissette of Trends of Fashion hair salon in Antrim and the lights have been coordinated by Great Brook School music teacher Patrick Cogan. Frizzell said she wrote, produced and directed the performances.
With the help of one of the pastors from the Baptist Church, Rev. Cherryl Boucher, Frizzell said letters were sent a year ago to eight churches in the area, all of which are collaborating on this venture. The list of churches includes the Baptist Church of Antrim, the Antrim Church of Christ, the First Presbyterian Church in Antrim, Bennington Congregational Church, Bethel Church of Hancock, Francestown Community Church, Greenfield Covenant Church, All Saint’s Church in Peterborough and the United Methodists Church in Peterborough.
“It [the project] opened up a great friendship. Something that will be a lasting thing and can be built on,” Frizzell said.
Becky Goodwin, a member of Peterborough’s All Saint’s Church, said in an interview Monday that all the churches are there for the same reason. “What’s wonderful is, whatever quote/unquote ‘denomination you choose,’ the purpose is the same. We’re here to celebrate the birth of Christ,” Goodwin said.
She said that Christians in general are moving in this direction towards more collaboration. “A church is not about a building. I hope to see more of this collaboration in the future.”
Goodwin said the church volunteers have spent this week setting up the marketplace booths with themes including sewing, pottery, weaving, armor making, plus live animal workshops.
Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.