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For week ended December 05, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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Creative minds craft clever Nativity scenes from odd items for Colleyville church exhibit

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Creative minds craft clever Nativity scenes from odd items for Colleyville church exhibit
Fort Worth TX Star-Telegram 1Dec99 D1
By Tara Dooley: Star-Telegram Staff Writer

COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS -- The LDS Chapel in Colleyville, Texas is hosting a display of more than 500 Nativity scenes contributed by members in its area. The display, including creche's from as far a way as Japan and as near as the local department store, will be available through Sunday as a way for the Church to express its Christmas spirit. Many LDS wards and stakes in North America have similar displays.

One notable creche is that made by 16-year-old Elisabeth Meehan, who crafted hers from paperclips, part of an earring, three coins and a cassette tape case. The assette tape case became a manger, the earring represented the baby Jesus, the three coins the wise men and the paper clips became figures. "I think it was the items put together," she said. "One of the pieces would just be something out of the junk drawer."

Meehan says she got the idea while fiddling around with a paperclip. "I was fiddling around with a paper clip and as I fiddled around with it, it started to look like a person," she said. Since her mother collects Nativity scenes, she decided to make one for her mother.

The other displays show similar creativity, using materials ranging from plastic to chocolate. In size they range from knee-high sculptures to figures made from grains of rice. One is even made from nuts, bolts and screws. "It's interesting how people see the Nativity differently," Meehan said. "Some people see it as pieces of rice. Some people see it as chocolate. Some people see it as paper clips."

But, she says they all refer to the same event. "For a lot of people today, Christmas is Santa Claus. The Nativity reminds you of the real meaning."

Another display by an LDS ward, this one in Howell, Michigan, also made the news. The Detroit News says that thousands of visitors have seen the more than 500 Nativity scenes at the LDS Chapel on West Grand River in Howell. Director Karen Murdock, who began the event seven years ago, says "I think Ann Arbor was the first of the creche exhibits in the nation. Now there's over 50, including four in Michigan."

The Howell display has an international flavor, with creches from Russia and many other foreign countries. As in Colleyville, the Howell displays vary in size from one that fits on the head of a pin (and can only be seen with a magnifying glass) to a life-size manger with real people. Other displays include a fountain nativity set so that water flows when spectators clap their hands and figures made from ice cream bar sticks. A few sets were made by Hummel or Lladro and are worth hundreds of dollars.

But Murdock says that the price of the scenes isn't what is important, "What makes this display special is that people bring family heirlooms, and things they've made. The display is priceless because of the sentimental value."

See also:

Popular creche display has an international flavor
Detroit MI News 3Dec99 D1
By Sheri Hall: The Detroit News
Popular creche display has an international flavor Thousands visit Latter-day Saints exhibit in Howell

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information