Building Bethlehem

Volunteers pitch in to build an ancient holy city for the Christmas holidays

Volunteers from the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church work to create the temporary structures of an ancient city and the Bethlehem star

Volunteers from the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church work to create the temporary structures of an ancient city and the Bethlehem star

Hammers were swinging and saws were buzzing at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church Saturday as a work bee was underway to re-create the little town of Bethlehem.

Every year members of the church pitch in their free time and efforts for their annual Bethlehem Walk. Pastor Jerrold Paetkau said about 65 people were at the church on Saturday for their first official work party. He said they have been busy getting prepared for the event for about a month now and there is much more to be done before the mock village of Bethlehem is ready to welcome visitors.

“We work all year long on little tasks and there will be more work parties in November and December,” he said.

Paetkau said the big task of finding a baby Jesus has been accomplished with a young family from Nanaimo taking on the starring roles.

Baby Jesus, will be played by newborn Aliyah Quist, cradled in a manger or in the arms of parents Bre and Nick who will play the role of Joseph and Mary.  Aliyah was born on September 15 this year and her mom Bre said they are looking forward to participating in the popular Christmas event.

For those unfamiliar with the walk, it’s a simple idea that involves a lot of complex execution.

Thousands flock every year to experience the sights, sounds and textures of the recreated Bethlehem that includes barn animals, a bustling marketplace, more than 250 people in period costume and, naturally, the famous manger nativity scene.

Now in its 19th year, the annual event has become one of the most anticipated holiday rituals in Oceanside.

The Bethlehem Walk takes place at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church at 550 Pym Street North from Dec. 10-13, 6 to 8:30 p.m. nightly.