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2012 Bethlehem and Beyond Events

Caroling Nights at the Boone Mall  -- 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Fridays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21. Choirs are invited to participate and may be included by contacting Kristina Norris at (

Bethlehem Bonanza
Parents are encouraged to bring their children to the Family Life Center at Greenway Baptist Church for arts, crafts and other activities to celebrate Christ's birthday, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. Sat. Dec 8. Volunteers are needed.Contact Christy Smith at (704) 351-0305 or (

Nativity Art Contest
Open to all ages with art relating to the birth of Christ.Art will be displayed at Boone Mall Dec. 6-21.First-place winners in each age division will be awarded gift certificates from Cheap Joe's.


Children (age 9 and younger), first place, $30 gift certificate
Juniors (age 10-15), first place, $40 gift certificateAdults (age 16 and older), first place, $50 gift certificate
Deadline for submission is Monday, Dec. 3, at noon and may be delivered to Three Forks Baptist Association Office Building at 513 Jefferson Road in Boone.  

For more information, visit or contact Kyle Keeter, art contest director: (828)-719-7525 or (

Nativity Tours: 

Jesus, the Ultimate Gift

Bring your friends to view the inspiring collection of nativities, enjoy a live nativity outside, and hear inspirational music -- all to honor Jesus. 

International nativity sets are welcomed. 

Tour is free; donations are accepted.
 Daily drawings will be held for unique gifts, including handmade items and gift cards from area businesses.

Where: Three Forks Baptist Association Building

When: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14; 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; 2 p .m.- 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16., 
Note:  If you have a nativity set to loan for this event, call Donna Nealy at (828) 264-4450 by Monday, Dec.3.

Originally published: 2012-12-03 14:45:52
Last modified: 2012-12-03 14:45:52

Community bonding through Bethlehem and Beyond

by Sherrie Norris

Now in its third season, an interactive, nondenominational community project known as Bethlehem & Beyond continues to expand with opportunities to spread the good news of the Christmas season. 

Since Donna Nealy of Boone first revealed her plans for the seasonal ministry in 2010, excitement and participation has continued to grow among families, churches and businesses in the area.  
 "I feel quite sure that God placed this idea before me about five years ago," Nealy said. 

After reading a story about two California women who started a display of nativity sets in area churches -- that rapidly grew into an annual ministry -- Nealy believed that the concept would be well received in Boone. She was right.

In addition to the nativities, Nealy encouraged local churches to incorporate the Bethlehem & Beyond theme into their Christmas celebrations "to reach more people together," she said.

Nealy initially gathered the support of the churches within Three Forks Baptist Association; participation soon expanded to include other denominations.   

In addition to the nativities that will be displayed in and outside of homes and businesses across the county, the project will once again spread into Boone Mall where choral groups will perform and art from its popular contest will be displayed.

"We are very grateful to the mall and especially to general manager, Meredith Golden, for allowing us to have access to the mall again this year. This allows us to have a central location with enough room for our choirs to provide caroling for two hours each Friday and for the work of our participating artists to be displayed during the entire Christmas season," she said. "We are also blessed that local artist, Kyle Keeter, has agreed to direct the contest."

The nativity tour will be held at the Three Forks Association headquarters, where dozens of loaned nativity sets will be on display.  

"From the beginning, I believed that this ministry would grow each year and not only bring glory to God in telling the great good news of Christ's coming and the true meaning of Christmas, but also be a blessing to our community," Nealy said. "It's amazing to see the response and to know that so many caring people are interested in seeing this message proclaimed." 

She added that the event would not be possible without the ongoing support of many volunteers and the generosity of numerous underwriting sponsors.

A program guide, designed by local graphic artist, Max Smith, is currently being distributed around the High Country and contains detailed information about the "free" Christmas events associated with Bethlehem & Beyond. 

"The events are designed purposefully to help you celebrate Christ in Christmas.

After all, he is the very real reason for the season," Nealy said.

"It is our sincere desire and prayer that the High Country community will be blessed by the wonderful events planned during this very special season," she said. "Volunteers have worked passionately and community sponsors have partnered with us to help make it happen. There is no cost to you for any event listed, but we believe there is great value in these experiences. We hope that you will invite someone to attend with you," she said. 

An event guide, designed by local graphic design artist Max Smith, is now available throughout the High Country and provides more information about the event.

In addition to Nealy, project director, and Smith, who is also the assistant director, the following individuals are a part of the 2012 Bethlehem & Beyond team: Barry Nealy, Diane Turner, Debbie McKinney, Christy Smith, Diane Brown, Kristina Norris and Kyle Keeter.

For more information, visit