Journey of faith

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:47 AM

During the first-time collaborative event, visitors will be given new identities and transported back to Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth. They will travel by candlelight through Duncan Memorial Park in Grand Haven.

Tickets for the nearly 45-minute journey on Dec. 6, 7 and 8 will go on sale Nov. 17-18.

For two years, volunteers have spent time researching and joining together to make the event accurate to the period. The Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity is helping sponsor the event, said project leader Terri Metzger.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see the churches uniting together to do this,” she said.

On weekend afternoons and long weeknights, volunteers have created a life-size marketplace with a bakery, basket shop, and leather and woodworking shops.

Metzger said participants will get to taste bread and cheese, and experience the smells and sounds of Bethlehem.

Other volunteers have created nearly 200 costumes for volunteers to dress in character, from beggars to Roman guards.

Adam Luurtsema of Grand Haven said the project is the first time he has volunteered for anything. He has become a construction leader, and said it’s been a good experience for him.

“It’s for a good cause,” Luurtsema said.

Spring Lake resident Chad Portenga and his son, Jake, have also volunteered their time to work on building the marketplace.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Chad said. “It’s a neat way to get them in the Christmas mood and let them know about Jesus.”

Ronda Chapman of Grand Haven said working on the scenes and costumes with other area churches has been a great way to meet new people.

“It’s a community effort,” agreed Pam Garrett of Spring Lake.

Spring Lake resident Sally Lavender-Hasseldahl said the event is a good mission and fun activity.

“Just knowing you’ve been a part is going to be a blessing,” she said.

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