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Home > Interpreter Magazine > It Worked For Us > Christmas story figures enhance Advent lessons

Photo by Dick Millspaugh
Christmas story figures
enhance Advent lessons

Large cloth figures helped Mission Hills United Methodist Church  in San Diego communicate the Christmas story during worship from Advent through Epiphany.

Each Sunday, the Rev. Carol Millspaugh, pastor, told children a story relating to the figures -- a prophet, shepherd, Mary and Joseph, an angel and three kings. Then she gave the children small wooden ornaments similar to each of the figures.

Church member Jan Johns made the half life-size figures by draping fabric over plastic foam heads attached to wire tomato cages. She created artistic impressions of the characters, leaving out such details as faces, hands and hair.

"I spent the whole year looking for appropriate pieces," said Johns, who works in a fabric store. "It was a tremendous experience."

Photo by Riley Johns
Telling the Christmas story during Advent rather than using only lectionary scriptures provided a new focus for worship, said Millspaugh. "I redid the focus of each Sunday to pick up on different aspects of the story, using these figures," she said.

"People are very positive about both the change in what we were talking about during Advent and also that we had a visual connection each week."

AT A GLANCE: Mission Hills United Methodist Church | 4044 Lark St., San Diego, CA 92103 | (619) 296-1243 | | | Pastor: Rev. Carol Millspaugh | Average attendance: 82 | California-Pacific Conference

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