Graham Memorial to offer 'living nativity' to community

FORREST CITY (Times-Herald) - Statues are good things for nativity scenes - they don't get hot or cold, they don't need to be fed or dressed, they can be left out all night and in any kind of weather.

However, they are static. And that's why churches will sometimes have a "living nativity," with real people, and occasionally real animals, portraying real events.

That's what will be happening this Friday, Dec. 21, and Saturday, Dec. 22, at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church. It will take place at the corner of Dillard and Washington streets in Forrest City, between 6 and 8 p.m., each night.

Rev. Liz Lindsey, who is chairing the event, said the idea came from Dr. Larry Mitchell, the church's pastor.

"He was asking if anyone was thinking about a nativity scene," said Lindsey. "I mean, we have the standard scene with statues."

She said children and adults will be taking part - possibly more children in the early part and more adults later. It's still being worked out.

The goal is to have enough participants for several shifts.

"The plan is to be low key," she said. "Christmas should not be stressful, and that is something I hope will come through."

And because they are real people, they won't be arranged like statues.

"What I'm planning is, Mary and Joseph will come out with the baby," said Lindsey. "And then shepherds will come, and we're going to have some little sheep and a goat. Then they go out and the kings come in."

The church's carillon will be programmed to play continuous Christmas music during the living nativity.

She said if anyone comes to view the nativity between 6 and 8 on those nights and nothing is happening, it's during a break, and a new session will begin soon.

Graham Memorial officials said the church "will reenact that blessed night of nights and minister to the community."

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