The First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Escondido will host the 30th annual holiday tradition of Bethlehem Walk on Dec. 8 to 10 at 341 South Kalmia Street in Escondido, Calif. Free to the public, Bethlehem Walk invites visitors to experience a re-creation of the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
Bethlehem Walk is set in the time of Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor who decreed that a census be taken and set in motion the event we now celebrate as Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Upon entering the lively city, the thousands of visitors that come to Bethlehem Walk each year embark on a guided tour through masterfully-staged open areas of the church grounds. With live artisans, animals, merchants, prophets and Roman soldiers, visitors become part of the nativity story as they make their way through bustling streets to the inn and, finally, to a real, newborn baby kept warm in a manger.
During the three-night production, Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus as well as every member of Bethlehem Walk, are played by an all-volunteer cast. Each year, in the shared message of Christmas, members of different congregations of local churches, come together to plan, construct and deliver the town of Bethlehem as it might have been two thousand years ago.
“The history of this event and its roots in the community are awe-inspiring,” said the Rev. William deBos, pastor at FUMC of Escondido. “With joy and fellowship, the tradition of Bethlehem Walk embodies the celebration of Christmas, Jesus’ birth and new beginnings.”
Bethlehem Walk tours begin every five minutes during designated times: Friday, December 8, 5:30-8:55 p.m.; Saturday, December 9, 4-8:25 p.m.; Sunday, December 10, 4-7:55 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended and are provided priority entrance in the tour groups. Beginning on Monday, November 27, at 8:30 a.m., reservations can be made via link on the church website fumcescondido.org.
Because Bethlehem Walk is outdoors, participants should dress appropriately. The event will not be cancelled due to inclement weather. The event is family-friendly and handicapped accessible.
Bethlehem Walk guests are encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food items for Interfaith Community Services. To learn more about Bethlehem Walk, watch this video: vimeo.com/153993891