Walk to Bethlehem pageant to be held in Rangeley on December 11

Rangeley Walk to Bethlehem

Rangeley Friends of the Arts will sponsor two programs to celebrate the Christmas season:  December 7th Christmas Concert by the Rangeley Community Chorus and December 11th “Walk to Bethlehem” pageant.

On Wednesday, December 7th, “A Holiday Invitation” by The Rangeley Community Chorus will be held at The Church of the Good Shepherd.  A wonderful evening of music directed by Sue Downes-Borko, the program will include some traditional carols such as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and Night of Silence written in 1984 by Daniel Kantor.  It will be an evening of exciting pieces that will fill the church with beautiful music, excitement and joy.  The 23 member chorus will be accompanied by Andrea Keirstead. Tickets ($10) will be available at the door on the 7th.  The program will begin at 7PM.

The 34th annual “Walk to Bethlehem” to be held in Rangeley on Sunday, December 11th is a gift to the community from The Rangeley Friends of the Arts. Walkers and carolers are invited to join the beautifully costumed pageant participants as they stroll through the streets of Rangeley, stopping at each of the four churches (Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal) asking for a place to stay.  Each year, this reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago is a joyous evening in Rangeley.

Each year, a local couple with their new baby portrays Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.  Many townsfolk portray shepherds, angels, Three Wise Men.  The elegant costumes created by Barbara Meservey decades ago are still used today.  The celebration begins at 5:30 PM on the steps of The Rangeley Inn as the proclamation is read: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ] the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:1-15)

The evening concludes at the Church of the Good Shepherd with a program that highlights local musicians and performers.  This year’s program will feature the Rangeley Bell Ringers, Rangeley Community Chorus, Young Children’s Choir, the RLRS Choir and a dance number by the Lakeside Dance Academy.  The pageant participants will process to the front of the Church of the Good Shepherd as the Christmas scripture is read.  “Silent Night” will conclude the program as everyone will then gather in the Undercroft for refreshments and continue the celebration as a community.