When a rural north-east church couldn’t hold its usual nativity display, members decided to think outside the box by using the latest technology to tell the traditional Christmas story in a modern way.
Cluny Parish Church usually holds a number of events during the winter holidays to spread joy and share the Christmas story with the community.
However, the annual carol service and nativity play were cancelled this year due to the social distancing measures which have been put in place because of the pandemic.
Instead, the small countryside church has created a nativity scene in a real wooden stable outdoors.
And they are providing people the chance to enjoy the traditional festivities in a cutting-edge way.
The nativity scene presents life-size figures of Mary and Joseph, as well as the shepherds and three wise men, depicted in wooden cut outs.
And the story of the birth of Jesus is brought to life with six story boards spaced around the stable, which can be heard by scanning a special code which plays audio clips on people’s mobile phones.
The narration has been created with special sound effects of Baby Jesus’s cry and even the baa-ing of nearby sheep, to give people the “most realistic experience of a nativity play” in a safe environment.
Anne Harrison, who is a session clerk at the church, said that people have had to become creative during the pandemic and this is a “unique” idea that combines modern technology with a traditional tale.
She said: “We wanted to do something to encourage people to come and experience the Christmas story.
“There is no better way to put it than to say that it’s been a great achievement for us, because it’s such a different and unique idea that we just didn’t know whether it would happen or not.
“It’s exciting, innovative, different, and a great way to appeal to people who wouldn’t necessarily come to church but would want to visit the stable in their own time, have a listen and feel a part of Christmas.”
The project was put together by members of the church and volunteers, who dedicated almost three weeks to make the idea a reality.
People from across the region have supplied material to build the stable and the life-sized figures.
“What’s so fantastic is that it’s been a community effort”, Mrs Harrison added.
“We are all very proud of our little church and the community spirit.”
The nativity scene will stay for people to visit after the holidays until January 5.