2016 is the 21th year of the Festival of Nativities at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lawrence, Kansas. Few people are aware of this gem. Indeed, many are unaware that there is a tiny United Methodist Church, tucked away in this neighborhood between the railroad tracks and the Kansas River.
Most of these photos were taken in 2008, when the nice ladies directing us through the church said that they had 370 nativities and 700 Christmas ornaments on display this year. Many of those are tiny crèches, but the overall impact is quite impressive. The congregation begins decorating the church three days a week following Halloween. The Centenary nativity collection is so large that not all of it is displayed every year.
Touring the nativity display is free (donations for local charities are welcome) and ladies from the church serve hot apple cider. There is also small gift shop with more nativities, Christmas items and homemade baked goods. One table had KU Jayhawk and K-State Wildcat Christmas items for sale.
To reach the Festival of Nativities, turn east from North 2nd Street (Highway 52) just north of the Kansas River on Elm Street. Drive two blocks and turn south one block on 4th Street.
copyright 2008-2016 by Keith Stokes