TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – While the story of Christ’s birth has common themes, each nation and community can have their own unique depiction. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Toledo is showcasing over 100 of these unique works in their third annual Nativity Festival this week.
Kate Filibaum says with such a wide variety and intricate construction of creches to display, it can be pretty hard to categorize — but not hard to fill nearly every floor of the church on Erie Street.
“We try to group them by country so you can see the variety of material, especially those from Kenya and African countries,” says Filibaum. “Wire, metal, wood, painted cloth — there’s quite a variety.”
From Brazilian wine corks to Guatemalan burlap, the craftsmanship is readily apparent on every piece — as much a work of art as the building itself. Pastor Peter Bowmer says the church prides itself on being an accepting and diverse congregation, and that extends to their creative neighbors.
“Downtown Toledo is quite an artistic community, and we try to connect with our artistic community through the Heart Gallery and this Nativity Fest.”
The event also features vendors selling homemade crafts and last-minute stocking stuffers, plus a cookie and cocoa bar to help combat the winter chill. Filibaum offers that “it’s a nice little place to sit and chat, have some coffee and cocoa and cookies, talk to each other and enjoy the historic building that we’re in.”
The main goal here is not to simply show off the artwork, but to inspire well beyond the holiday season.
“It’s a message of hope, in a time where we all need that. It’s kind of a universal thought for all of us at this time of year.”
Nativity Festival hours:
Thursday, Dec. 19: 12pm – 8pm
Friday, Dec. 20: 12pm – 8pm
Saturday, Dec. 21: 12pm – 4pm