First Parish Unitarian Universalist to Offer 97th Annual PAGEANT OF THE NATIVITY

First performed in 1926, this annual event incorporates organ and choral music, historic narrative, and over 50 actors in non-speaking roles to create a tableau.

By: Dec. 06, 2023
First Parish Unitarian Universalist to Offer 97th Annual PAGEANT OF THE NATIVITY

First Parish Unitarian Universalist to Offer 97th Annual PAGEANT OF THE NATIVITY

The 97th  anniversary of the historic Pageant of the Nativity will take place at First Parish Unitarian Universalist on Sunday, December 17th, 2023 at 5:00 pm at 425 Congress Street in Portland.

First performed in 1926, this annual event incorporates organ and choral music, historic narrative, and over 50 actors in non-speaking roles to create a tableau of the nativity scene, inspired by the work of 15th Century artist Fra Angelico. Rev. Norman Allen, First Parish's newly settled minister, narrates the birth story of one of history's great prophets. 

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 nieces of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The candlelit meetinghouse serves as a solemn backdrop to this special event.

The event is offered free of charge to the community and is open to the public. 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. Norman Allen remarked, “For nearly a century our Nativity Pageant has played a central role in Portland's holiday season. I can't wait to join the congregation this year as we tell the story of a child born in the humblest of circumstances but destined to transform the world through love and justice and joy. It's a story that inspires our work in the community as we hope it inspires all who join us on the 17th!”

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.

What: First Parish Unitarian Universalist Pageant of the Nativity

Where: The Historic Meetinghouse at 425 Congress Street, Portland

When: Sunday, December 17th at 5:00 pm

Cost: Donations accepted

For more information: (207) 415-7875



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