Church displays aim to celebrate, educate

SANDUSKY First Baptist Church on East Monroe Street has over 30 displays, showing and explaining various holiday symbols and
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

First Baptist Church on East Monroe Street has over 30 displays, showing and explaining various holiday symbols and traditions.

The church and its displays were featured in the Old House Guild Tour last year, but Pastor Dan Miller decided to do the displays again at the request of others.

"We have a really beautiful and quaint church," Miller said. "We love to decorate it for Christmas and Easter."

A tour of the church begins at the entrance lit with luminaries and an explanation of the history of luminaries, which originated in Mexico.

"It has been a labor of love to put those scripts together," Miller said. "I've used books from the library, commentaries and I've visited the Middle East where this all originated."

It took two to three weeks for Miller and some of his parishioners to build and decorate the various exhibits. Miller also included religious symbols and traditions from other sects, including the Catholic Advent Wreath and the Jewish Menorah.

"I fellowship with all the other pastors and priests in town. They are my friends," Miller said. "I don't like this division. We should be working together."

One of the most elaborate displays is the "Visitors" exhibit. The Wise Men, or magi, were most likely astrologers from modern- day Iran, Miller said. The exhibit shows a traditional tent they might have slept in and clothes similar to what they wore.

"I call them the wise guys," he said. "And I bought these old neat costumes at an antique store."

In the basement of the church, Miller has created a replica of the manger scene.

While visiting Nazareth, Miller saw a stable that many believe is similar to the manger Jesus was born, which resembled the crawl space at the church.

"This is how it really looked," Miller said. "It was this humble and that's what we're trying to capture."

The scene is lit with oil lamps brought in Israel and the baby Jesus doll is covered by a real lamb skin from Ireland.

To see these and other exhibits, call the church at 419-626-1986 or visit during its open house from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 24.