The camels are coming! Westlake UMC to host live Nativity

The cast from last year's live nativity.

Westlake United Methodist Church hosted its first live nativity last year and the congregation was overjoyed by the positive feedback from the community. One person commented, “for a moment I felt like I was really in Bethlehem! It was a moment of the divine on earth. Hearing the story and songs really gave me the Christmas spirit!” 

One year later, the live camels and donkeys will be back, but with a twist. “So many things have been cancelled this year because of COVID. We knew we had to find a way to still make this experience possible,” said Christopher Neeley, Westlake UMC’s Director of Music and Youth. 

This year’s live Nativity has been redesigned as a drive-in performance that can be viewed from your parked car while listening to a radio broadcast on channel 87.7 FM. The volunteer cast members are groups of families that will be socially distanced from one another near a life-size manger scene built by members of the congregation.

The live animals add so much to the performance. Last year the donkey was braying and the sheep and goats were bleating. Even the steer was lowing – just like in the classic Christmas lullaby, "Away in the Manger." The camels were quiet, but their majestic presence could not be missed. Sadly, the animal petting corral isn’t doable this year, but the church is confident it will be back next year! 

Westlake UMC is located at 27650 Center Ridge Road. Show times are at 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18. All welcome! Enter the church parking lot from Center Ridge Road. Please remain in your car. If your windows are down, plan to wear a mask.

Ellie Peiffer

Director of Faith Formation at Westlake United Methodist Church

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:51 AM, 12.15.2020