Oh, holy night

The little town of Bethlehem came to life Thursday night in Grand Haven's Duncan Memorial Park.
Krystle Wagner
Dec 7, 2012


From a life-size marketplace with a basket shop and bakery to Roman guards demanding paperwork, travelers were transported back in time to when and where Jesus was born.

Volunteers from more than 20 area churches collaborated for the “Journey to Bethlehem" event. They built the town and created costumes for nearly 200 volunteers.

Although the first-time event continues tonight and Saturday, tickets for the event sold out in November, project leader Terri Metzger said.

The Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity helped sponsor the event.

While visitors took their places waiting for the travel to begin, event volunteer Mary Beth Witte of Spring Lake said it was nice to see the community’s enthusiasm for the project.

“I love that there’s such an interest,” she said.

After arriving at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes, visitors were given new identities before beginning their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Grand Haven resident Craig Fuller traveled with his wife, Hannah, and their three children — ages 5, 3 and 10 months.

“We wanted to show our kids and visually see the story,” Craig Fuller said.

Hannah Fuller said she liked the idea that the event brought churches together for the same cause.

“I think it’s really cool to show people the true meaning of Christmas,” she said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Isn't this a city (public) park?
If so, why are you charging people to view a Christian event? Taxes are paid by people for support of public parks, and some of those same people may not be Christians!


I'm not gonna cause a fuss about this, because there is no point in a town that is overwhelmingly Christian, but I was disappointed that I was turned away while out on my evening bike ride that I do every night unless I wanted to pay to attend this church sponsored event. I have absolutely no problem with the churches doing their thing, but when the church organizers ban someone from using a public park, I do have a problem.


Support of public/city parks with tax money is vastly different than an event in that park charging admission. It seems like you have a gripe, rj18rad, but aren't being clear.


OK, tag, atheists pay taxes for support of this park, right? This event could have been done at any of the PRIVATE church properties in town. I've lived in many cities across this country and have never lived anywhere Christian shows/practices/etc. were done on public property. It doesn't make a difference that people were being charged for it, that's a whole different isssue. The fact that a Christian event was taking place on public property is wrong! Also, I am a Christian!


rj18rad, if you are a Christian it seems to me you'd be excited about the opportunity for sharing the story of Christ's birth in a public place. At any rate, Duncan Woods proved to be the PERFECT backdrop for Journey to Bethlehem. Come next year and experience the wonder of this amazing event so you too can share the blessing with more than 3000 other attendees.

For the record, Duncan Woods' original owner thought ahead. Years ahead. Enough said on that, except for this: If you really want to "buck the system" you'll have a lot of red tape to cut through. This event took place because God ordained it to happen - and it happened on "legal grounds" - no pun intended. (You would have to know the history of Duncan Woods and how the original owner of the property worked out the legalities of how it was to be used in future days to understand what I'm talking about.)

Have a blessed, joyous Christmas, my friend.


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