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First Parish Unitarian Universalist to Offer 96th Annual PAGEANT OF THE NATIVITY

Historic service to be held on December 18th in Downtown Portland.

First Parish Unitarian Universalist to Offer 96th Annual PAGEANT OF THE NATIVITY

The 96th anniversary of the historic Pageant of the Nativity will take place at First Parish Unitarian Universalist on Sunday, December 18th, 2022 at 5:00 pm at 425 Congress Street in Portland.

First performed in 1926, this non-denominational annual event incorporates organ and choral music, historic narrative, and over 50 actors in non-speaking roles to create a visually beautiful tableau of the nativity scene inspired by the work of 15th Century artist Fra Angelico.

Cast members are adorned in vibrant fabrics, some of which date back to the very first performance and were brought back from the Holy Lands by the newices of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, as Rev. Dr. Elaine Peresluha narrates the birth story of one of history's great prophets. The church meetinghouse, lit by candles, serves as a solemn backdrop to this special event, which is free and open to the public.

Though the event is offered free of charge to the community, voluntary donations to help defray some of the cost of this time-honored production and support the mission of the church, will be gratefully accepted.

Rev. Peresluha, Interim Minister of First Parish, notes that "our Historic Nativity Pageant will celebrate the night made holy by the birth of one child.......A child whose life of courage, words of compassion, and deeds of justice have kept the light of hope burning for nearly 2,000 years. This historic enactment of the ancient story will guide you to the heart of your holiday season."

About First Parish: The original First Parish church in what is now Portland dates from 1674. In 1740, the second wooden Meeting House, known as Old Jerusalem, was erected at the present location, 425 Congress St. The present granite structure opened its doors in 1826. As a family-friendly, welcoming Unitarian Universalist congregation, First Parish practices a liberal religion, affirming the worth of all humans and advocating freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth. Recent inclusion initiatives at First Parish include the installation of a "Black Lives Matter" sign over the entrance, a plaque and regular mentions in worship services noting early church leaders' complicity in genocide of Wabanaki people, and the installation of an elevator aimed at making the historic building more accessible to people with disabilities.



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