FPC Brooklyn Celebrates Advent with “Drop-In” Christmas Pageant

Jan 10, 2024

One of the hardest things for most churches to coordinate is the scheduling of busy youth in their church–especially for rural churches that have a variety of local traditions, out-of-town family gatherings and school obligations to meet. First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, Iowa has had two successful ventures to recreate the beloved traditional Christmas Pageant coming out of the COVID Pandemic years. By using some out-of-the-box- thinking, present limitations and realities were accommodated. In 2022, from the First Sunday of Advent through Epiphany, RE Lisa Whitmarsh Peterson, who provides church pastoral services, wrote special vignettes in reader’s theatre format each Sunday for available youth according to their interest, biblical character played and reading level. Even with an occasional illness, there was always a cooperative adult to become the understudy. Because it turned out so popular with the congregation, in 2023, a “No-Fuss, Drop-In Pageant” was designed for a multigenerational group of thespians to experience the story just like what happened in the First Christmas. Never before seen scripts, costumes and props were readied. Casting Call was 15 minutes before Worship. To facilitate pageant readiness, a “Holy Interruption” was put into Service, so the congregation could revisit childhood by participating creatively with Play-Doh. The result: beautiful angels, scruffy shepherds, “3 Wise Guys,” a twinkling star, Holy Family, and other modern-day to biblical characters. Each acted, and relayed again “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” proving that with creativity and good humor, age doesn’t matter in proclaiming Good News, previously held for children and youth! The congregation participated as the choir for the songs. The church commitment paid off, as shown in “Joy Sunday” cast picture. Small church vitality is alive and well!