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St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Vegreville is continuing an initiative to host Nativity Festivals, a tradition they began prior to the pandemic, by once again including other Christian churches in Vegreville.

This year, on the first weekend of December, St. Mary’s will hold joint services, outreach, and activities with its United Church neighbours.

The Rev. Laureta Blondin, rector of St. Mary’s, began the nativity festivals with her own collection. She has invited other collectors to participate, and people can expect to see sets made of many different materials: wood, cloth, glass, metal, reeds, banana fibre, and the list goes on and on, in many different forms.

“Crèches on display from around the globe give viewers the chance to experience a culture that is not their own, but that is Christian,” says Lisa Topilko, a member of St. Mary’s. “We find unity and commonality in celebrating the birth of Christ.”

Topilko says several of the nativity sets are made for interacting and are on the floor for the young and young-at-heart to play with. “The rest are for viewing and marvelling at the beauty on display.  Some are ornate, some are plain, others are teeny tiny, and still others are grand,” she says.

“Rev. Laureta’s vision was an event that absolutely everyone could attend so ours is a free festival. We ask people to consider a cash or food donation to the Vegreville Food Bank because we know the need is great in our community.”

St. Mary’s will also lead Christmas caroling on Friday evening, starting at 6 pm, and on Saturday afternoon, at 3 pm.

“Come one, come all to see and celebrate the reason for the season!”