Kim Moyles’s farm has played Bethlehem for the last three Christmases
By Diego Flammini
A farm in Newfoundland and Labrador has doubled as Bethlehem for the last three years.
Kim Moyles, who owns a farm near Brown’s Arm, Nfld., has let the local Salvation Army church use her livestock to recreate a living nativity.
“We’ve got some donkeys and horses,” Moyles told Farms.com. “We’ve also had some chickens and goats in the past.”
Community volunteers play different roles ranging from the three wise men to the Virgin Mary.
“One year we even had a live baby play Jesus,” Lorne Hiscock, the pastor of the Salvation Army church in Horwood, Nfld., told Farms.com. “Nobody had a baby this year in time for us to do that.”
Hiscock approached Moyles in 2016 about hosting a nativity at her farm.
“She was more than willing to help accommodate us,” he said.
Moyles’s barn served as the manger, she supplied bales of hay for the cast and attendees to sit on, and performers brought guitars to accompany Christmas songs.
Members of the cast rode in on the donkeys and horses to bring the play to life.
“When we think of a church, we’re usually confined to its four walls,” Hiscock said. “By bringing the nativity outside into the barn, not only are we giving our church members something different, but we’re also hoping to attract people who wouldn’t normally attend a church service.
“You might be cold in the barn, but it adds to the realism of the story.”
The community has embraced the annual occurrence and has started to bring food for the animals. This year, attendees brought non-perishable food items for the local food bank.
Plans are already underway for next year’s performance.
“What I’m finding is that the nativity on our farm is becoming part of our annual Christmas tradition,” Moyles said. “People have come from surrounding communities to watch the performance, so we’re looking for ways to make it better.”
Aside from the nativity play, the event also provides exposure to rural living, Moyles said.
“People who might not have access to a farm are encouraged to come spend some time on one,” she said. “For some, it’s the first time they’ve ever been to a farm and they have questions.”
Hiscock has also noticed attendees expressing an interest in the animals.
“After one performance, children were walking around the farm hand-feeding the animals,” Hiscock said. “It’s great for them to make that connection with farming and animals.”
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