'Journey to the Manger' will start tonight, 6 to 9

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Posted 11/30/17

Hundreds of volunteers from two local churches are once again joining together to lead Clevelanders on a "Journey to the Manger." This third annual event, presented by Mt. Olive Ministries and …

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'Journey to the Manger' will start tonight, 6 to 9

SHEPHERDS show guests the way as they participate in last year's "Journey to the Manger." The event takes place three evenings this week at Greenway Park, located off Raider Drive.
SHEPHERDS show guests the way as they participate in last year's "Journey to the Manger." The event takes place three evenings this week at Greenway Park, located off Raider Drive.
Contributed photo
Posted

Hundreds of volunteers from two local churches are once again joining together to lead Clevelanders on a "Journey to the Manger." 

This third annual event, presented by Mt. Olive Ministries and Westwood Baptist Church, takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. today, Friday and Sunday at Greenway Park. 

"Journey to the Manger" is an event centered around the traditional story of Christmas, with a variety of activities eventually leading to a visit to a live nativity depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. 

"This is Mount Olive Ministries and Westwood Baptist Church coming together to give the gift of Christmas to Cleveland," said Bruce Hill, assistant pastor at Westwood. "If you are not feeling the spirit of Christmas before you go, you certainly will be before you leave." 

Costumed actors from both churches will lead tour groups through a path which includes stops to interact with shepherds and others acting out the Christmas story. It all ends with a visit to the manger. 

As guests wait to start the "journey," they will get to enjoy Christmas music from several choirs, many of them student choirs from local elementary, middle and high schools. 

There will also be a petting zoo featuring animals such as sheep, goats and camels. Hill noted this part of the event "is always a big hit."

There will also be free refreshments, such as hot chocolate and cookies, which will be available to each person who presents a free ticket. 

Though this event is in its third year, organizers say there will be some new features this year which even returning event attendees will enjoy. 

"Every year, we try to make it better," explained Hillary May, children's pastor at Mt. Olive. "You're immediately immersed into a festive atmosphere, as we bring the gospel to life." 

Among this year's additions are new city walls and a Roman soldier patrolling on horseback. Both are meant to allow guests to feel like they "are really in the city of Christ's birth," Hill said. 

May noted this event is suitable for people of all ages, including children who are just beginning to learn about the Christmas story. 

There is no charge for this event, and no tickets are needed to participate in most of the event's activities. However, free tickets, available through both churches and at the event each night, entitle people to free refreshments.

Free parking will be available at the Bethel University building and Cleveland High School on Raider Drive and at Peerless Road Church. 

This event is being made possible by several local sponsors: Chick-Fil-A, Church of God International Offices, Esther Lily, Lee University, Logan-Thompson P.C., Mix 104.1, Peerless Pediatrics, Ridge Outfitters, Southern Heritage Bank and White Wing Christian Bookstore. 

For more information on the event, visit www.facebook.com/clevelandlivenativity. 


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