Festive nativity scene faces the outdoors at Telford church

As we all prepare for a different kind of Christmas this year, a church in Telford is no exception.

Rev Andy Smith and Chris Newman from Memory Menders
Rev Andy Smith and Chris Newman from Memory Menders

The nativity scene which has proved popular over the years at St Matthew's Church in Donnington Wood has moved outside and into the churchyard to make it easier for visitors to come and view in a Covid-secure manner.

Complete with stable and figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, there are also visiting shepherds with their sheep alongside.

It has been constructed using recycled materials donated by local builder Jim O'Sullivan and Colin Lowe, and put together by the voluntary group Memory Menders.

Rev Andy Smith and Chris Newman from Memory Menders

The group of volunteers usually bring together their various skills to repair treasured items with a story, but have this year focused on the church's new nativity scene throughout the pandemic.

Chris Newman, who designed the display, said: "We wanted this to be a real community project and it has been great to see how people have pulled together to get it off the ground.

"There’s been a few challenges along the way but we have all had some enjoyable times working on this."

Rev Andy Smith and Chris Newman from Memory Menders

Contractors Diane Chapman, of Balfour Beatty, and Pete Kirby, of MSM Contractors, have also volunteered to source and install lights for the nativity and outdoor Christmas tree as part of their contribution to community engagement to bring some festive cheer.

Alongside the nativity scene, visitors are invited to follow a trail of readings and prayers on a journey through the story of Christmas.

Rev Andy Smith, who painted the figures, said: "It’s been a tough year for everyone and we hope this will point people to the heart of what Christmas means and bring some much-needed real comfort and joy to our community."

The display will be in place for several weeks, at least until after the New Year, and residents are being invited to come along.

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