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December 5, 2012

Local Christmas tradition continues

GREENVILLE — One of Greenville’s longest running Christmas events continues this month with the presentation of the live Nativity program at Ridgecrest Baptist Church.

The Nativity is always scheduled to be performed on Dec. 20-24, during the five evenings before Christmas.

The live Nativity program is celebrating its 46th year and will take place at its annual location on the south side of the church at 6801 Wesley Street from 7 until 9 p.m. each night, according to the church’s Lee Ann Baker.

“Each tableau requires nine people and is rotated every half-hour,” Baker said. “In addition to those standing, the event requires many hours of set up by the men of the church on the Saturday prior to the 20th. People volunteer to act as wardrobe assistants, parking lot workers, refreshment providers, and nursery workers.”

The Nativity began in 1965, which was also the year the church itself was organized. At that time the church met in the former Travis elementary school building at Wesley and Oneal Streets.

The Nativity has been presented each year since, with the exception of 1973, when the energy crisis resulted in a federally-mandated reduction of electricity.

Several groups sign up to participate each year, including some from the church’s Hispanic affiliate, Mission Bautista Ridgecrest.

“It is truly a churchwide ministry,” Baker said. “People are invited to drive by and to stop and get out to view the scene.  Parking is available on the east side of the church. “We look forward to sharing this annual event with the people of Greenville and the surrounding area.”

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