The hustle and bustle of the marketplace at ‘Walk to Bethlehem’.
The hustle and bustle of the marketplace at ‘Walk to Bethlehem’.
This holiday season take a “Walk To Bethlehem”.


Join Mary and Joseph as they take their walk to Bethlehem on the evenings of Friday, December 13th and Saturday, December 14th from 6:30pm to 8:10pm.

Follow the Star, hear the angels sing at First Christian Church, 4800 South Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne. Your journey to Bethlehem will include 6 live outdoor scenes of the nativity complete with live animals and real characters. You will travel to a blacksmith shop where he is making nails and sharing his story and to the fields where shepherds keep watch tending their sheep telling of that ‘special’ night. Experience the birth of Jesus. How the innkeeper had no room.

Observe the marketplace in Bethlehem as it was on that same night…inside the church in the fellowship hall…here you will meet basket weavers, potters, census takers, Hebrew folk dancers, Roman soldiers and even the tax collector. The hustle of the marketplace also includes bread, spice and cheese vendors.

“Walk to Bethlehem” was first presented as a gift to the community in 1995. The journey will take about 20 minutes. But, wait. Before you go you MUST SEE the wonderful collection of over 200 nativities found in the sanctuary.

A special feature is the Nativity Collection provided by Pastor and Mrs. Neil Allen. The Allen’s collection is comprised of more than 150 sets from more than 20 countries. A select portion of the collection will be on exhibit in Grabill on December 7-8 and the full collection will be on display during the annual ‘Walk to Bethlehem’ on December 13-14.

Pastor Neil Allen and his wife Nora live in Waynedale in the Lakeshores Addition. They moved to Fort Wayne in 1998 when Neil became Senior Pastor of First Christian Church, 4800 S. Calhoun St. in Fort Wayne. The Allen’s began collecting nativities 10 years ago after an enlightening experience during a Christmas season. They feel that the essence of the season was lost in commercialism and secular traditions and have very little to do with the humility of Christ’s birth. Pastor Neil Allen’s passion for collecting nativities blended beautifully with the ‘Walk to Bethlehem’ event.

“One year the joy of the season came home, thanks to a set from Peru”, stated Pastor Allen. This will be one of the features on display. This set combines the very core of their beliefs; humility (simple clay figures); service (rough hands); sacrifice (large hands and feet signifying the pierced hands and feet of Christ); wide eyes (reminding us of the awe of the occasion); the suffering and death that await Christ (clay figures-“You are dust and to dust you will return,”-stripes across Jesus’ body-“By his stripes we are healed.”), and diversity (skin color).

The ‘Walk to Bethlehem’ exhibit ranks as one of the largest nativity displays in the Midwest. It features collections from Fontanini, the Krider Collection, the Sauder Collection, sets from Dove’s Nest and All Saint’s plus much more.

It is the friends at First Christian Church and the Allen’s hope that everyone seeing this beautiful collection and enjoying the ‘Walk to Bethlehem’ will remember the love of God, made known in the birth of Christ.

The Waynedale News Staff
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