Journey to Bethlehem shares the meaning of Christmas this weekend

MINDEMOYA—The annual Journey to Bethlehem, a multi-denominational, family-oriented outdoor presentation of the Christmas story, will be held this Friday and Saturday in Mindemoya.

Since its inception 17 years ago, the annual event organized collectively by the churches of Mindemoya, has brought thousands of people to Manitoulin from across Ontario to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

With over 80 costumed volunteers, plus many more behind the scenes assisting with organization, sets and costumes, and over 200 candles, participants are taken back in time and led on an interactive walk to Bethlehem, passing beggars, guards, shepherds, the three wise men, a choir of angels, a market, an inn, and eventually meet Mary, Joseph and a live baby Jesus.

The idea for the annual Island event was inspired by the Walk of Love in Bruce Mines. The church leaders of Mindemoya were in the process of discussing the idea of a nativity scene production, bringing together representatives from each of the Mindemoya churches to form an organizational committee, and thus the Journey to Bethlehem was born.

The production has grown since its inception, as have the volunteers offering their ideas and talents.

“We are really excited for this year’s event,” organizer Monic Shaw told The Expositor. “This is our seventeenth year and we owe our ongoing success to the many volunteers and all their hard work. We are hoping that the weather will cooperate and we have already had calls from Sudbury about groups coming over.”

New this year will be entertainment from Rick Piche on Friday evening and a mix of artists Saturday night including Island musicians Tim Shaw, Barry Williamson, Ray Scott, Ben Lentir and Ray Klotstra. The musicians will be performing at the Our Lady of Canada Catholic Church in between walks.

Journey to Bethlehem starts this Friday, December 5 at 6 pm and goes until 8:30 pm. The production will also run Saturday, December 6 from 6 to 8:30 pm. Individuals are asked to park at the Mindmemoya Missionary Church, with free transportation provided by Browns Bus Line to the Our Lady of Canada Catholic Church. The cost is free, but free will offerings are appreciated.