Not far away in a manger: life-size Nativity tableau tells the Christmas story in Lydiard Millicent

By Jamie Hill - 15 December 2020

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The shepherds are in the fields, the wise men are on their way, and a star is hanging over a stable in which shelter a baby and his happy parents.

All of this is part of a Nativity tableau in the grounds of All Saints Church, Lydiard Millicent. The tableau that dramatises the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth will be open to visitors from 17-25 December.

All the figures, together with the stable and recorded voices of the characters, have been created over the last few weeks by members of the All Saints congregation.

Revd Tricia Roberts, wife of parish vicar Revd Tudor Roberts, explained how the idea came about. “When it was clear that the COVID pandemic would prevent our normal packed Christmas carol service and family Nativity service, we knew we had to find an alternative.”

Tricia explained that although visitors won’t be able to join in the usual carol singing, they will be able to visit the stable alongside the shepherds and wise men. As they rub shoulders with them, they will be able to listen to carols recorded by local schools and by residents and reflect on recorded Bible readings and monologues by the people involved in the Nativity events.

“The great thing is that the installation will be open to everyone for the full nine days so people can come at any time that suits them,” Tricia said. “It’s going to be a very special event.”

The church, which serves Peatmoor, Sparcells, Common Platt, Lydiard Millicent, Greenhill, Lydiard Green and Greatfield, also hopes to hold a Christmas Eve Holy Communion on 24 December at 11.00pm and a Christmas Day family service at 10.00 am. These will take place in the church with numbers limited to 30 people.

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