Grimes United Methodist Church is extending a helping hand this holiday season to the Grimes community. With donations from both congregation members and people in Grimes, the food pantry at the church provides meals for approximately 50 families a month. However, around the holidays, the church steps up its efforts and provides Christmas baskets with turkeys to 57 families on December 20th. If you would like to help or make a donation, please contact the church office at 515-986-4036, or by email at email@example.com.
But the church gives more than just charitable donations to the community. On December 16 and 17, Grimes UMC hosted its fourth-annual One Starry Night live nativity celebration. The event was the brainchild of Phil Bargfrede, the church’s director of children’s ministry. He came upon the idea four years ago while searching for a winter version of summer’s ever-popular Vacation Bible School event series for children.
“Since then, it’s just exploded,” said Michelle Sigler, the church’s office manager. “We draw over 800 people per year, and it increases each year.”
The event featured a realistic walk-through experience, where guests paid a “tax” to enter the city gates of Bethlehem, watched the Angels speak to the shepherds, entered the court of King Herod, and walked through the nativity scene itself, complete with live animals. Afterward, guests entered a marketplace with arts and crafts, including pinched clay pots, fleece scarves, Christmas ornament creation and a demonstration from a baker kneading dough. Sigler attributes the increasing success of the event to the strong impression it makes on guests, particularly children.
“They’re always amazed at seeing the stables, and seeing what life was like back then,” she said. “It’s a huge production that they get to be a part of. They get to play a part in the story itself. It really helps drive home the true meaning of Christmas.”
The church is also hosting Christmas Eve services at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. The 5 p.m. service provides a lively, family-oriented worship environment, while the 11 p.m. service offers a quiet and reflective candlelit worship experience.