Interactive nativity scene

Ashburton Baptist Church's Delia Fox and the Christmas nativity scene.

The Ashburton Baptist Church has set up an interactive Christmas nativity scene as a gift to the community.

It is one of the festive-themed activities the church is publicly offering. Another is a community carols open air session this Sunday.

Church children and families ministry leader Delia Fox said Carpark’ will take place with social distancing around the car park of the church grounds on Sunday from 8pm.

The evening carol singing session will also allow people to see the lighting in the community nativity scene which also sits in the car park of their premises on the corner of Havelock and Cass streets.

Under the covid protection framework there are limits to the number of people able to be in the church, so the congregation had taken the meaning of Christmas to the community in an outdoor setting.

It’s our interactive gift to the community, for children and families, she said.

“We decided as a church we needed to do something for the community.”

The artfully structured nativity scene, depicting the stable birth of Jesus, along with comic-form Christmas story, includes Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, three wise men and shepherds along with their sheep.

Mrs Fox said it had been a team effort and she was thankful for the help of carpenters, electricians and lots of volunteers input as well as from Andrew McConnell at Power Farming lifting and loading the smaller gift box and Wilson’s Bulk Transport for container cartage.

Included at the end of the Christmas story is a competition people can enter by text, or at the church reception during office hours.

The gift box is open daily from 9am to 9pm, weather dependent, through until the New Year.

The church, which has opted not to use vaccine passes, has been restricted to 50 people in their main auditorium with limited space also in their overflow room and children’s church.

As a way to keep their congregation connected they have a weekly online church service and also smaller connect groups which gather in peoples homes to watch the service online together.