A project to highlight the biblical origin of Christmas has mushroomed into a special exhibition at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sooke.
The display of about 200 nativity scenes fills the church, and is open to the public for free on Dec. 14 (5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) and Dec. 15 (2 to 8 p.m.).
Church members contributed their nativity scenes to the International Nativity Display, which includes crèches from as far away as Israel, Mexico, Peru and England, as well as Canada and the United States. Two crèches from Bethlehem are made from carved olive wood.
“It’s just a nice way to introduce Christmas and get people in the Christmas spirit. It should be a really, really nice event, and it’s for everybody,” organizer Linda Payne said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is new to Sooke, with about 70 parishioners, and the International Nativity Display is one way the church hopes to introduce itself to the community.
Another reason for the display is many people don’t realize the Mormons believe in Christ.
“We thought by doing this crèche, we would let people know that members of our church actually do believe in Jesus Christ,” Payne said.
Along with the crèche, the exhibition includes children’s activities, a movie on the nativity, refreshments and Christmas music. A donation box will also be on site for donations to the Sooke Food Bank.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located at 6868 West Coast Rd.