Ohio Church Set for Christmas Festival

One of the 300 Nativities

The HeART Gallery, an artistic outreach ministry of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio, is set to host a week-long festival which will feature 300 different Nativity scenes including art, crafts, music, and food. 

This event, which began on November 26, and will end on December 18, 2022, is part of the activities to mark the festive period for Christians.

According to Kate Philabaum, the director of HeART Gallery, the Nativity scenes are local resident collectors and members of the congregation.

Philabaum told The Christian Post, “We have partnered with two estate companies and taken in items that are destined for the land-fill after a sale. This often includes pre-lit Christmas trees that no longer work and outdated ornaments.

“We undertake the task to refurbish and repurpose these materials as much as possible, as stewards of the environment. About 50% of our decorated trees and table items have been salvaged in this way.”

This year would make it the fourth that the church is hosting the event. Asides the nativities, there are also concerts during the opening and closing event.

During the opening concert on Saturday, an all-female group, Asteria String Quartet, performed. The closing event is expected to feature carol singing and a performance by the Academy Brass Quintet.

Philabaum also spoke about other performances. She said, “This year, our artist-in-residence is Michelle Arnold Paine. Her exhibit ‘Painting Mary’ focuses on contemporary renderings of Mary.

“Ms. Paine is commissioned to do a painting for the church on the theme of ‘Jesse Tree’ and will paint live on-stage on Friday evenings in December.”

On what attendees stand to gain by the festival, she said, “People leave feeling that they've been engaged in conversation, art and music as a way to remind them of the blessings of the season and the birth of Christ.”

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