Church re-creates first Christmas at Big Pipe Creek Park

NEIGHBORS

December 10, 1992|By JUDY REILLY

The cattle are lowing, shepherds are guarding the sheep bearded men with inquisitive eyes come bearing gifts, and somewhere a baby cries.

Those are the sights and sounds of the first Christmas, which will be re-created Saturday and Sunday evening at Big Pipe Creek Park in Taneytown.

"Christmas in the Park" will be presented by Frizellburg Bible Church, whose 100 members wanted to do something special for Christmas.

In the still December darkness of the wooded park, waiting in the nighttime shadows, will be shepherds, disciples and wise men, their garments blowing in the wind, their figures lighted by spotlights in the treetops. The park road will glimmer with hundreds of luminaries.

Visitors are invited to experience 35 minutes of serenity and reflection. As you drive through the park, you can listen to an audio tape that tells the Christmas story as it unfolds. The tape accompanies the scenes church members will be re-enacting in pavilions scattered throughout the woods. A nativity scene is at the center.

Planning for the event began in August, with "brainstorming, daydreaming and praying," says Pastor Scott Morgan. "I had visions of an open Christmas where people could drive through. People are out driving around this time of year, going shopping, looking at the lights. This will let them spend some time remembering what Christmas is all about.

"Christmas is the one time of year when people seem to be genuinely interested in spiritual issues," Mr. Morgan says. "Our desire is to have a way of communicating to people God's truth -- that he came among us, and he's here. That's ultimately the root of Christmas."

The event is something Mr. Morgan has wanted to do since he came to the church five years ago. This year, with help from the congregation, everything fell into place. Members of the Wareheim family are church members who own Big Pipe Creek Park; county farmers will lend the animals; church member Theresa Muller created the costumes; electricians in the congregation also helped.

Everyone has been baking cookies for the refreshment pavilion and collecting soda bottles and candles to make the luminaries. "We're all just working together," says Thelma Coleman, a longtime church member who is helping coordinate the event.

Says Mr. Morgan, "We're rich in creativity and determination and the willingness to try new things."

"Christmas in the Park" is from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Big Pipe Creek Park, 3939 Old Taneytown Road, about a mile south of the Taneytown McDonald's. The event, including refreshments, is free. Rain or snow date: Dec. 20. Information: 857-0678.

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You may want to get to Taneytown earlier Saturday, before the library closes at 5 p.m., to admire the artwork on display by students from Francis Scott Key High School and the Carroll Child Care Center. It promises to be another nice antidote to seasonal stress created by fighting mall crowds.

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If listening to Christmas carols sung by dozens of children makes your heart skip a beat, then stay in Taneytown a little longer Saturday. Nearly 50 Girl Scouts from all of the troops in Taneytown will carol at the town square from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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One more idea to chase the Scrooge mood away this season: Give relatives and other loved ones at least one gift that doesn't cost money. The gifts of time, listening, reading aloud to children, or a surprise telephone call to an old friend are some suggestions.

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