Journey to Bethlehem returns

The Journey to Bethlehem returns Dec. 12-14.

The re-creation of the town of Bethlehem in the time of Jesus’ birth is coming back to Grand Haven.

The Journey to Bethlehem will take place Dec. 12-14 in Duncan Memorial Park.

Tickets go on sale this weekend, 5-8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 527 Taylor Ave. Tickets are $5.

Beginning at noon Sunday, Nov. 24, tickets will also be available online at www.journey2bethlehem.com.

After six years of the journey, volunteers took what would have been a seventh year off to get refreshed and renew the set. Project manager Terri Metzger said they “felt strongly that it was God’s call.”

Once participants meet at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes, 717 Sheldon Road, they are transported to Duncan Woods, where they are taken on a 45-minute-long journey that takes them from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Along the trail, they encounter scribes, prophets and Roman soldiers, and visit with merchants.

Hundreds of volunteers from churches in the Tri-Cities area, Muskegon and Holland come together to make the journey possible.

Through the years, Metzger said she has enjoyed the people volunteering and hearing the comments and responses from participants.

“We feel so humbled to be a part of the Journey to Bethlehem,” she said.

The project has spanned more than 10 years as volunteers built the set and presented the Journey to Bethlehem to area churches. In the years since, almost 22,000 people have experienced it.

The purpose behind the journey is to remind people that Jesus is the reason for celebrating Christmas, Metzger said. She noted that some families have made it part of their holiday tradition.

Metzger encourages residents to experience the journey.

“I believe it’s going to change you forever,” she said.

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