December 2, 1995 in Washington Voices

Open Bible Mixes Music, Comedy In Christmas Story Out Of Old West

Ward Sanderson Staff Writer

It’s part “Bonzanza,” part “A Christmas Carol,” but director Dave Henderson said the Open Bible Church of the Valley’s holiday production pulls it off.

Set in Montana during the 1880s, “Centennial Christmas” is actually three holiday stories in one, told with laughs, music and occasional poignancy.

Plot No. 1: Someone has swiped a locket from the general store, and has to decide whether or not to come clean.

Plot No. 2: A lady recently lost her husband, and the town must rally to support her.

Plot No. 3: A woman expecting a baby goes into labor at the most inconvenient of times.

“It call it a serious musical-comedy,” Henderson said. “(It has) a little bit of everything.”

Somewhere amid the intertwined tales, the troubled townsfolk learn what fellow Christmas character Ebeneezer Scrooge found out before them. “We’re ending up portraying what the Christ child meant to people in real situations,” Henderson said. “The spirit of Christmas has them wanting to give to people in need.”

Holiday plays have become pretty popular with the church’s congregation. The productions happen every Christmas and Easter, and folks love to get involved. The cast of “Centennial Christmas” numbers nearly 30. There is also a dedicated crew of costume-makers and designers.

Henderson only recently began directing. He’s a county and gospel singer first, a thespian second. Theater isn’t entirely new to him, though - he took drama in high school. But he said what qualifies him for the director’s chair is a quality he doesn’t have to learn.

“I’m just a ham,” he said.

“Centennial Christmas” performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the church, 905 N. McDonald Road. Admission is free.

Advent Faire

Tired of bazaars o’ plenty? St. Mary’s Catholic, Good Shepherd Lutheran and the combined All Saints/Holy Spirit Episcopal parishes will host a fair of different kind this weekend.

“There will be some crafts, but it’s not really a bazaar or anything. It’s more of an idea fair,” said event organizer Dona Mohr of St. Mary’s.

The idea is to show people different Christmas traditions. Families can swap favorite holiday songs, make their own ornaments, learn to decorate cookies or take a turn at knitting.

Youngsters can dress up in biblical-era clothing and get their pictures taken as part of a live Nativity scene.

Diana Sanderson, director of religious education at St. Mary’s, said it’s a refreshing change from the usual Christmas commercialism.

“(People can) sample and find ways to make their Christmas special, but not cluttered with more things to buy,” she said. “It’s good things to do without taking out a mortgage.”

The event was an annual tradition at Good Shepherd Lutheran, and now the group of churches has decided to team up and hold it together. The Rev. Bob Anderson, pastor at Good Shepherd, said once folks see how the fair works, they’re hooked. “It takes doing it one time before people get the hang of it,” he said. But after that, they love the “low cost or no cost” theme.

Anderson said he hopes to see the fair return as a group effort again next year.

This year’s Advent Faire happens 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 304 S. Adams.

Dinner, handbell choir

Spokane Valley United Methodist Church will host the second of its Advent dinners Wednesday night.

The dinner happens at 6 p.m., and will be followed by a performance by the DeColores professional handbell choir at 7:15.

The church is located at 10422 E. Main, just behind the International House of Pancakes near University City Shopping Center.

, DataTimes

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