By Jessie Schut
Special to The Record
In the battle between COVID-19 restrictions and Christmas traditions, COVID seems to have the upper hand for now: no concerts, no parties, no craft fairs, no candlelight services … and no “Creches of the World,” the display of nativity scenes held at Comox Valley Presbyterian Church.
The event, held annually for the last six years, offered visitors an exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world, as well as live music, crafts for the children, and a costumed photo op.
When the planners of the event realized the popular event couldn’t be held this year, however, they didn’t give up. They got creative and planned a virtual visit instead. This year, the church is offering its annual gift to the valley at www.cvpc.ca, as well as distributing it as a DVD to those who do not have access to the internet.
The YouTube virtual visit offers a playlist of music, stories, and photos featuring some of the many hundred sets that would normally be displayed. The sets are gathered from dozens of countries around the world, each set unique and created using art styles and materials indigenous to the culture. Also included are a reading of the original nativity story found in the Bible, a history of nativity sets, and a segment where people tell stories about their own creches.
“The annual display is one of our favourite ministries and we particularly enjoy welcoming the community into our space to see the sets” said Rev. Jenn Geddes. “While we will miss seeing everyone this year we are so glad to be able to provide a virtual version. We encourage everyone to share the link with their family and friends- whether they are in the valley or not. It is a real privilege that this ministry can now be accessed from anywhere in the world. “
Also planned is a craft link for families, with ideas on building a nativity scene “Comox Valley-style”, using local materials that can be found in the woods, on beaches, or in the recycling box.
The virtual visit and the craft link can be found at www.cvpc.ca
If readers don’t have access to the internet, they can request a DVD by phoning Comox Valley Presbyterian Church at 250-339-2882 during church office hours: Wednesdays 9-11 a.m., Thursdays 9-11 a.m., and Fridays 9-noon.
The congregation has always experienced joy in hosting Creches of the World. Cancelling it was a difficult decision. But that move turned out to have an unexpected blessing.
“What a terrific gift this will be, reaching far beyond the Comox Valley this year,” said committee member Peg McMillan. “The virtual visit will be something joyful and full of hope for many to enjoy during the darkest days of 2020.”