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Bethlehem Star lighting format changed for 2020
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Bethlehem Star lighting format changed for 2020

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The Bethlehem Star lighting program is scheduled for Dec. 5, and an inclement weather date of Dec. 6 at Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church on N.C. 127 North, Hickory.

The 2020 program has undergone a change in format because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of an outdoor service around bonfires with hot chocolate, walking to the manger, and musical groups performances, the program will now be a drive-thru event. It will include emphasis on the religious nature of the events leading up to the birth of Jesus and the appearance of the Bethlehem Star.

To maintain social distancing, no walking through the scenes will be allowed. Attendees are also encouraged to carpool. No restrooms will be available for visitors.

The drive-thru will take about 15 minutes with a continuing flow of cars from 6-7:30 p.m. Attendees may find less traffic in the period between 6:45-7:30 p.m. The Bethlehem Fire Department, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement explorers will maintain the flow of traffic. Dual lanes will be established as cars enter the parking area. A collection point will be provided for Alexander flood relief near the exit.

Ten scenes will be available around the periphery of the Mt. Pisgah parking lot. Seven churches in Bethlehem are participating in readings and staffing various scenes. Promised Land Ministries is scheduled to be the lead church. Pastor Billy Honeycutt of Promised Land Ministries will be reading the scripture about the star at the end of the program. As visitors arrive, they will receive a program containing a QR code that may be used to play a YouTube program of music and narrations for the individual scenes. The QR code will also be posted before the event and a video of the program after the event on the Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church webpage.

Donnie Teague, Bethlehem native and retired CEO of Huntington House Furniture, is the star lighting honoree for 2020. Teague has followed in his late father Clayton Teague’s footprints as a leader in the furniture industry and creator of jobs in the Bethlehem community. Like his father, Teague is well known for his community support through donations and providing personal assistance with community activities such as scouting and other volunteer programs. Teague and his wife, Myra live in Bethlehem. He has two children, Corey and Kellie, and three grandchildren.

Scenes will be staffed and narrated by church members, pastors, and other community members. Churches and ministers participating include Promised Land Ministries, Pastor Billy Honeycutt; Christian Fellowship, Pastor Neil Bowman; Fellowship Advent Christian, Pastor David Ross; Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, Pastor David Bost; Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Dean Chambers; Bethlehem Church of God, Pastor Stewart Lankford; and Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church, Pastor Mike Stone and Pastor Kate Crecelius.

The 10 stations include Mary and Gabriel, Mary and Elizabeth, prophets Isaiah and Micah, inn keeper, Herod, wise men, angels, Christmas story, star and manger.

A second event, the traditional Fellowship Advent drive-thru will continue to have approximately 25 scenes and will also be strictly a drive-thru event on Dec. 11-13 from 6-9 pm. 

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