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One of the hallmarks of the holiday season is the Christmas pageant. Usually young people are involved, playing the parts of Mary and Joseph and others at the nativity.  But one church in Georgia has a version of this classic tale with some unique actors…who bring their own lessons about the gift of love. Reed Galin reports.

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Atlanta, GA)

Volunteer to Jennifer: “Jennifer, you’re gonna do great!”

Jennifer:  “Yeah.”

With lines to rehearse…

Ryan reads line “You can sleep in my stable.”

Costumes to fit…

Volunteer with angel: “You’ve got to have a halo.”

And actors to find…

Volunteer: “And we’re waiting on Joseph (laughs).”

Members of Roswell United Methodist Church say their annual Christmas play is always a miracle because of its stars – people with special needs.

Gail Nabors / Roswell United Methodist Church:  “God just puts his arms around us and it all comes together.”

Narrator:  “One day, the angel Gabriel appeared..."

Member, Noah’s Ark:  “Do not be afraid.”

A shining star, shepherds and three wise men.  The familiar story is brought to life by “Noah’s Ark,” a Sunday school class for the developmentally disabled.

Gail Nabors:  “These people express the true meaning of Christmas every day of their lives.”

Ryan Sterrett / Member, Noah’s Ark:  “It is not much but you will be warm and dry.”

Matthew McWhorter / Member, Noah’s Ark:  “When they practiced the play this morning, it made my heart feel good.”

Gail Nabors:  “Go stand right over there by her.”

Co-director Gail Nabors says that despite the obstacles these people face each day, they teach a valuable lesson.  

Gail Nabors: “God loves us all unconditionally, just as these love everybody unconditionally.”

Group sings: “Joy to the world…”

For almost 20 years, “Noah’s Ark” has delivered a Christmas message to the Atlanta community.   And in return, the participants receive a gift they find more precious than gold – acceptance.

Ryan Sterrett:  “They clapped.  That feels good.”

The play was originally intended to give the group a meaningful activity, but it’s become a way to say thanks to the church that supports them.

Matthew McWhorter: “Just to give thanks and to be with the ones you care about the most.”

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“Noah’s Ark” has about 30 members. Some serve the production as ushers or singers.

Noah’s Ark members also do an Easter play, a Noah play, and a Mother’s Day play. The group has a hand bell choir and they participate in a bowling league and a Special Olympics type field day each spring.

For more information, go to: www.rumc.com/pageview.asp?pageid=27658.