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Drive-Thru Journey to Bethlehem


BEREA, KY.-- A Madison County church sent more than 10,000 people on a journey earlier this month. The travelers didn't go far in distance, but did go way back in time.

The drive-thru Journey to Bethlehem caused traffic jams along the road to Berea's Church on the Rock.

Pastor Mark Sarver said many people who would never set foot inside a church building will come to see the live nativity scenes.

"The whole purpose of this drive-thru is for people to get the true story of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus," Sarver said. The attraction, now in its fifth year, has drawn visitors from Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

Everything is included that you'd expect to see, such as soldiers and shepherds, and some things that may surprise you, such as a live camel. Visitors are even given fake gold coins for when they encounter tax collectors along the route.

Nearly 200 volunteers help create the 23 interactive scenes.

"For the congregation itself, it builds relationships, comradery and faith," said Sarver.

Marketplace Manager Zinnia Hensley said she takes part every year because she love seeing the excitement on children's faces. "As soon as you come through, get ready to enjoy yourself," she said.

The show's director said he's already thinking ahead to next year.

"Anything that's not growing is dying," said Rob Phillips. "So we're going to add more scenes and improve the ones we have."

Just like any big production, this one has a grand finale. Visitors drive right into the stable to see Mary, Joseph and the baby.

Phillips said he hopes visitors leave with a memory they'll never forget.

Church on the Rock also stages a Journey to the Cross just before Easter.


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