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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Hodgeman County churches re-enact 'Journey to Bethlehem'

  • Before all the shopping and Christmas hubbub gets you completely exhausted and out of the Christmas spirit, the churches of Hodgeman County offer you the opportunity to visit the places where the story began.
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  • Before all the shopping and Christmas hubbub gets you completely exhausted and out of the Christmas spirit, the churches of Hodgeman County offer you the opportunity to visit the places where the story began.
    "Journey to Bethlehem," a project which began in 2000, takes visitors along a guided tour of the people and events that tell the story of Christmas.
    Along the way, you'll encounter the wise men who are on their way to see the newborn king and you'll run into the Roman guards who will challenge your entry into the city. Then you'll wander through the city, where you'll encounter the census workers and the tax collector.
    You will be told that there is no room for you in the inn.
    You'll walk to the stable behind the inn where you'll see the baby, surrounded by angels and shepherds.
    And this year, there will be a new guest helping to welcome the infant: a live camel. The organizers of the event were able to arrange for the camel to visit from an exotic animal farm.
    The journey is sponsored by the Jetmore and Hanston United Methodist Churches with help from all the churches in Hodgeman County.
    "The man playing the part of the tax collector, who is supposed to be so mean and everyone is afraid of him, is the pastor of the Presbyterian church," said Karen Wellbrock, secretary at the Jetmore and Hanston United Methodist Churches.
    The committees begin planning for the event in August but most of the set-up work happens in the last two weeks. More than 100 people are involved in producing the event.
    "We have a day care facility here at the church, so we wait until the last minute to turn the classrooms into the scenes of the journey," Wellbrock said.
    Since the event started in 2000, about 10,700 people have experienced the tour.
    The Hodgeman Business Boosters are holding a free-will donation soup supper in conjunction with the Bethlehem event.
    Dinner will be served from 4 to 8 p.m. at the King Center, 308 Main Street in Jetmore.
    Proceeds from the dinner will support local scholarships.
    IF YOU GO
    What: Journey to Bethlehem
    Where: Jetmore United Methodist Church, 204 E Highway Street
    When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9
    Admission is free
    Tours for people with special needs begin at 5 p.m.
    Most of the tour takes place inside the church but the stable is outside.
    Dress warmly.

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