A church in Ohio is hosting a Christmas festival that features about 300 different Nativity scenes.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church's HeART Gallery ministry is hosting the December festival. The event started last Saturday and runs through Dec. 18.
The 300 Nativity scenes come from members of the congregation and local residents. Other decorations are donated items and items the church has salvaged for use, The Christian Post reports.
"We have partnered with two estate companies and taken in items that are destined for the landfill after a sale. This often includes pre-lit Christmas trees that no longer work and outdated ornaments," said HeART Gallery Director Kate Philabaum.
"We undertake the task to refurbish and repurpose these materials as much as possible, as stewards of the environment. About 50% of our decorated trees and table items have been salvaged in this way."
The festival will also feature performances and concerts. The festival closes with a performance from the Academy Brass Quintet with organ and carol singing.
Art featured at the festival includes pieces from artist-in-residence Michelle Arnold Paine.
"Her exhibit 'Painting Mary' focuses on contemporary renderings of Mary," Philabaum said.
"Ms. Paine is commissioned to do a painting for the church on the theme of 'Jesse Tree' and will paint live on-stage on Friday evenings in December."
Philabaum said she hopes "people leave feeling that they've been engaged in conversation, art and music as a way to remind them of the blessings of the season and the birth of Christ."
The HeART Gallery was launched "to engage people through monthly exhibits, participation in vibrant Toledo Art Loop activities, monthly Lunch & Learn events. Riverside Writers (a creative legacy writing group for seniors), and other art, music and food events planned around the unique interests of those living in the Toledo area," their site says.
"We believe visual art creates discussion for spiritual thought and inspiration for daily life. We strive to create a community where all can belong, grow, and become better equipped as caring citizens of the world."
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash/Alasdair Elmes
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.