Savannah Christian Church recreates Bethlehem in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Church builds Bethlehem in Savannah

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The bustling town of Bethlehem is being brought to life in Savannah.

On these street corners, you'll hear saws, hammers and paint brushes busy at work. Volunteers are putting the final touches on the town before opening night of The Journey on Dec. 4. 

One of those volunteers is relatively new to the 10-year-old production, but he says it changed his life.

Fred Schlick says, "I had my first date with my wife at The Journey two years ago, and then we got married at one of the gazebos at The Journey."

Schlick and more than 100 Savannah Christian Church staff and volunteers have been working on The Journey since late April.  Even a month and a half ago, they were nervous about the finished product.

Marce Burnsed joked, "We were shakin' our boots there for a little while, but it's amazing the talent of the men and women that have come out and built this with quality to last.."

It's more than plywood and paint that make a multi-dimensional town; it's a labor of love.

Organizers even asked the experts on how to help with the total experience; they sought info from Disney World to see how they move a lot of people through a relatively small space.

All the volunteers bring their own skill set as well. There's a blacksmith in Bethlehem that was actually designed by local men in the Ocmulgee Blacksmiths Guild.

Wayne Sullivan, Drama Ministry Pastor, has helped the hundreds of actors in Bethlehem since The Journey began when Savannah Christian was on Tibet Avenue.

"We have an interesting mix of volunteers." Said Wayne. "We have people who started out as baby Jesus and are now playing Mary's and Joseph's in the market place.  We have people who came to the church for the first time Mother's Day and want to be a part of it."

All the volunteers have a special reason for being part of it and Fred says he hopes this is just the beginning. He said, "The Journey is how my wife and myself have started our journey through our life so the journey is very important to us."

For mor information, visit Savannah Christian Church's website.

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