Community creates life size nativity at St Mary's, Grassendale

St. Mary’s, Grassendale created its own life size crib scene with thanks to the local community.

The nativity, in the Garnett Chapel in the south transept, was used as the focus for worship throughout Christmas.

John Rowlandson, who helped to organise it said: "The aim was to involve as many people as possible. A team constructed the figures using polystyrene heads, wood and chicken-wire, while other teams painted the backs and sewed and decorated the black-out curtains for the windows. We stripped out the altar and rails from the chapel to provide some more space and different organisations in the church were given a figure to adopt and dress."

The figures, sheep, a donkey and a camel were ready in time for the church's Messy Church and Children’s Nativity services. The largest figure was the Angel Gabriel who had a golden head and wings with real white feathers.

John added, "The figures were dressed in a variety of styles and fabrics ranging from a shepherd from the Craft Club to a saintly Virgin Mary produced by the Mothers' Union.

"Creating it brought together members of the church to enjoy each other’s company and work in fellowship on a worthwhile project."


Over the Christmas season the church was open to encourage visitors to see the Crib Festival, starting early in the morning providing take-away coffee for commuters on their way to Cressington Station and asking them to take a few minutes to look at the crib scenes.

John said, "It caused many people to enter the nativity scene to sit, pause, reflect and pray while being among the figures and seeing Jesus lying in the manger: encountering Christmas in a powerful and moving way."