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Authentic village offers ‘Journey to Bethlehem’

By Tammy Malgesini

Staff Writer

Published on November 29, 2016 10:09AM

A village is erected behind the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church each year for its annual Journey to Bethlehem. The interactive drama is Friday through Sunday.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI

A village is erected behind the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church each year for its annual Journey to Bethlehem. The interactive drama is Friday through Sunday.

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Larry and Darla Hanson put finishing touches on Herod’s throne room prior to the 2015 Journey to Bethlehem. Interactive guided tours will again be offered Friday through Sunday at the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI

Larry and Darla Hanson put finishing touches on Herod’s throne room prior to the 2015 Journey to Bethlehem. Interactive guided tours will again be offered Friday through Sunday at the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Buy this photo

An interactive tour set in an outdoor village shares the Biblical story of Jesus’ birth during a free event this weekend in Hermiston.

Journey to Bethlehem features the sights, sounds and smells of what life may have been like 2,000 years ago in the village. Jo Ann Rincker, a member of the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church, has been involved with the production since its inception in 2008.

“To me, this is the real meaning of Christmas,” she said. “There are some people out there who have never heard the story, so I think it’s important to be told.”

The 20-30 minute guided tours are Friday through Sunday from 5-8:30 p.m. behind the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church, 855 W. Highland Ave. While waiting for tours to start, people are invited to wait in the warm church sanctuary and listen to music. Kids will be given little packets with a booklet and activities.

“I think it will help with the wait,” Rincker said. “We have had problems with the wait being too long and we’ve had people leave because they have children that would get inpatient.”

About 100 costumed actors participate in the dramatic production. In addition to members of the Hermiston and Anchor Point Seventh-day Adventist churches, other churches and community members have got involved with the effort. Located near the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the First Christian Church provides childcare.

Also, live animals include everything from sheep, goats and chickens to llamas, which are dressed up to look like little camels. The animals, Rincker said, help provide an authentic experience of entering a village during Biblical times..

Provided as an outreach ministry, it’s important to organizers to offer the experience free of charge. Some people, Rincker said, might not be able to attend if they had to pay. However, donations are gladly accepted.

“It’s something we want to provide for our community,” Rincker said.

For more information, call 541-567-9000.



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