WORTHINGTON — Families are invited to experience the joy-filled streets of Bethlehem and the excitement of Jesus’ birth during a Journey to Bethlehem event at Worthington’s American Lutheran Church.
Journey to Bethlehem will take attendees on a discovery of Jesus during biblical times in Bethlehem. The non-denominational, open house-style event is planned from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1, at the church, 915 Winifred St., Worthington.
Kristin Appel, children and family ministry coordinator at American Lutheran, said the goal of this first-ever event is to bring families together to celebrate the Christmas season.
“As churches, we’re really good at programming for our own members, but we don’t often do community-wide events,” Appel said. With the success of the Community Kids Camp this summer, she said there was a desire among families to connect with their faith.
We encourage families to come together, slow down and take a break.
In Journey to Bethlehem, attendees will be greeted by a “census taker” and receive a bag as they go through the Bethlehem marketplace. There will be a carpentry shop, bakery, scribes tent, stable, blacksmith shop and more, each offering an activity for children and adults alike.
“There’s a lot of different activities,” Appel shared. “Some are geared toward younger and some for older kids. There will be stations for adults too.”
They’ve even planned a Toddler Town for the youngest visitors.
Families will have an opportunity to make crafts together, from ornaments to jewelry to an Advent cross. There will also be foods to sample, a streaming video and refreshments to include hot chocolate, coffee and cookies.
Appel said volunteers from American Lutheran and other local churches are assisting with the event.
“It’s during the busiest time of the year,” she said. “As we see all of the decorations in the stores earlier and earlier, we get stressed out…. I wanted to have an event that allowed people to slow down and reflect … on the simple things in life.”
The journey culminates with a visit to the stable, where families can take part in activities that are more reflective in nature.
“We encourage families to come together, slow down and take a break,” Appel said. “Invite your friends and make it a fun event for your family.”
All children must be accompanied by an adult, and all are welcome to attend. Free-will offerings will be accepted.
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.