First cen­tury mar­ket­place comes alive

Bethel Pen­te­costal Church hosts Break­fast in Beth­le­hem

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Ab­bott

Nails pound­ing, feather quill pens scrib­ing, goats bleat­ing.

Break­fast in Beth­le­hem in Till­son­burg Satur­day morn­ing pro­vided a dif­fer­ent type of in­door mar­ket­place.

“Break­fast in Beth­le­hem is an ac­tiv­ity for fam­i­lies,” said Pas­tor Brent Shep­herd at Bethel Pen­te­costal Church on Quar­ter Town Line. “We want to make sure that fam­i­lies get a great ex­pe­ri­ence, to­gether. Christ­mas­time is a time when there is so much go­ing on, but we want to make sure there are ac­tiv­i­ties that fam­i­lies can en­joy to­gether - a low cost, fun thing for them to do.”

Hosted on two Satur­days, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, the pan­cake and sausage an­chored the two­day event, but the high­light was the in­ter­ac­tive first cen­tury mar­ket­place.

“We wanted to try to make it like a first cen­tury mar­ket­place,” said Shep­herd. “So there’s car­pen­try, rope mak­ing, scribes and there’s some sew­ing. We tried to make it ‘sort of au­then­tic.’ Just some neat things that you wouldn’t get at other ac­tiv­i­ties that are more mod­ern. There’s a lot of Santa Claus stuff, but this is some­thing dif­fer­ent, sort of a first-cen­tury feel of what it would have been like in the ‘birth of Je­sus’ time. We wanted this to be an ad­di­tion to all the other fun things that are hap­pen­ing.”

Sev­eral an­i­mals from Lit­tle Tracks Petting Zoo were on site for petting and view­ing. And a ‘Selfie Pic­ture Sta­ble’ was set up where vis­i­tors could try on pe­riod cos­tumes to take self­ies.

“We just try to make it a fun ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­body, to en­joy a 1st cen­tury ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Shep­herd, not­ing that Pas­tor Sara­beth Strathdee came up with the idea two years ago, but a team of peo­ple gath­ered to­gether to help make it hap­pen.

“Volunteers from the church have worked to­gether to cre­ate the at­mos­phere and the ideas, and came up with the way to put it all to­gether. It it wasn’t for the volunteers help­ing with it, this day just wouldn’t ex­ist.”

Church volunteers made sure pe­riod cos­tumes were avail­able for ven­dors, ar­ti­sans and chil­dren.

“It helps keep the feel of that en­vi­ron­ment of what it would have been like back in those days,” said Shep­herd.

The sec­ond Satur­day al­ways seems to bring in more peo­ple, he noted, both last year and this year. They sold about 90 tick­ets for the Nov. 24 break­fast, and that was sur­passed Dec. 1.

“The word gets out. The first week we did it, it was good, but this week has been very busy. It will be more for sure.”

Although most vis­i­tors seemed to be fam­i­lies with young chil­dren, Shep­herd said some se­niors visit for the break­fast and story and to in­ter­act with some of the events.

“That’s part of it - any­one who wants to come, can come. It’s a com­mu­nity event, we want to make sure any­body and ev­ery­body can be part of it.”

In the fu­ture, the mar­ket­place idea may ex­pand to other sea­sons.

“It’s been work­ing well. If we can im­prove on it, get this work­ing well, we will fig­ure out whether it’s some­thing we can do for another type of sea­son,” said Shep­herd. “Easter and Christ­mas are big ones in the church, but we’re start­ing with Christ­mas first.”

Chris Ab­bott/Till­son­burg news

An­i­mals from Lit­tle Tracks Petting Zoo were pop­u­lar at the Break­fast in Beth­le­hem event in Till­son­burg Satur­day morn­ing.

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