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Photo courtesy of Theresa Mason

One of the magi puppets greets worshippers during "Following the Star" at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Photo courtesy of Theresa Mason

Fourteen-foot puppets portrayed the magi in the 2015 presentation of "Following the Star" at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska.

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Large puppets take the stage

 

Christine Kumar
November-December 2016

It Worked for Us

The congregation looked up from the pews to see 14-foot tall puppets depicting the magi approaching the holy family. It was one scene of the Nativity drama "Following the Star" at Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Then pastor of Trinity, the Rev. Theresa Mason wrote and directed the presentation of the Christmas story. The puppets and live actors performing as shepherds and other characters presented the story on Christmas Eve and for other services during Advent 2015.

"The large puppets invite adults to child-like wonder and awe," said Mason, who has a doctorate degree in theater arts. "The giant magi in all of this bow in wonder before a tiny baby – God incarnate," she said. Mason recruited the actors, shepherds and teams of people to work with the puppets for the drama.

People of the same ethnicity that the puppet represented made each of the wise men, she said. An African artist made the African king, an Hispanic artist made the Hispanic king and an English artist the English king. Each king's costume also represented his ethnicity.

Mason, who retired in June, began puppet ministry in 1981 at a church she served in California. She also leads workshops in making puppets.

The Rev. Kelly Karges, newly appointed to Trinity, said the "Genesis Group" is planning a new worship service for Christmas Eve this year.

AT A GLANCE Trinity United Methodist Church | 511 N. Elm St., Grand Island, NE 68801 | 308-382-1952 | trinity@um4gi.org | www.um4gi.org | Senior pastor: Rev. Kelly Karges | Average attendance: 455 | Great Plains Conference

Christine Kumar is a freelance writer and administrator for the Baltimore-Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference. Send ideas for It Worked for Us stories to interpreter@umcom.org.