Walk Through Bethlehem

This website is an Internet home for the annual event hosted by the Bellingham Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you were looking for an event in another location, please check for other online resources, such as this page of similar events. The remainder of this site is currently focused solely on Bellingham's event.

For Whatcom County's event, you can find significant news posted here. You may also wish to check a “Walk Through Bethlehem” Facebook page.

Bellingham's Walk Through Bethlehem Event

Upcoming Production

The next “Walk Through Bethlehem” event that we are currently expecting to host is currently being planned for 2018.

Info About Years 2016-2017

The last time this free presentation was provided was in the year 2015. The event has been postponed for the years 2016 and 2017 due to these key factors:

Please note that this event is NOT happening before 2018, despite earlier announced plans to have this occur December 7-10 of 2017. Some details did not pan out in the time frames that were previously being planned. Therefore, we are expecting our next event will occur in 2018.

Each time this production occurs, the event requires quite a bit of effort by a number of people. In recognition of investments people make, including the time spent by visitors to come attend, we want every production to achieve high expectations of quality, like the experiences during previous years which people have found so rewarding.

Year 2017 Message From Director

Here is an announcement directly straight from the Director of the Walk Through Bethlehem program:

We have elected, after our latest WTB meeting, to postpone yet another year.

We still have our scripts to finalize and our set to build.

We want our grand reopening to be just that....Grand. Our builder got a new job, hooray🎉 , but this means that he doesn't have the time to build it now. Does anyone else have the time to build it in 2018? This is a paid position.
Recommendations?

We want to have our guests be impressed by our new church, not our current job site. It is coming together nicely, just not soon enough for this year's program.

We are officially postponing until December 6-9, 2018.

Blessings, Angela Langley, WTB Director

The staff has many volunteers (and, for many years, has been 100% volunteer-run) and has immensely enjoyed providing this production for many years. Despite that joy, we are determined to ensure that this only occurs when we can provide a safe and quality experience.

One good side to this story is that our previously selected main builder has now achieved a more stable employment foundation to last throughout the year. We are thankful that God takes care of the needs of his people.

Looking Forward...

We have been planning an enhanced experience and look forward to this in December 2018.

In 2017, work is still being finalized on building a new worship structure that will be used throughout the year. We are also preparing improvements to the Walk Through Bethlehem experience. Overall we've been delighted with most aspects of the program, but some highlights occurred at frequent intervals. We want the layout and organization to ensure that precise arrival times or traveling speeds won't cause anyone to inadvertedly miss out on some of the noteworthy attractions available.

Walk Through Bethlehem has been a production of the local Seventh-day Adventist Church community. Until the next Walk Through Bethlehem presentation, we still do have other active programs, and welcome you to check out what else we offer.

Understanding... What Is Walk Through Bethlehem?

Walk Through Bethlehem is an event that re-creates many aspects of Bethlehem's environment around the time that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin mother, named Mary.

The result includes attractions like a manger near an inn, a synagogue, and a number of shops (which only accept the currency that is freely provided at the event). Also, there are people, dressed up in costumes, who serve as shopkeepers, Roman guards, and even kings.

See the sights, taste the treats (which are free), and even participate in some activities when the night's light comes from the flames of lanterns.

What does the event cost to attend?

Nothing! There is no admissions charge. It is free. There is no reservation needed.

Refreshments are provided free of charge. The one cost is that some food is provided as a fundraiser on most nights. However, other food/snacks get distributed freely, so people can enjoy this experience without needing to pay for admission.

How does this happen?

Up through the year 2015, Walk Through Bethlehem occurred for many years in the field of a school yard which was transformed into a series of places to visit. Buildings were built (literally). As the buildings were temporary, Baker View Christian School's back yard was converted into a miniature village each year. This transformation can be see at Re-Creation Records.

At the time of this writing, details are still being planned about how the site will look for the year 2018 and beyond. The new location may be the brand new Seventh-day Adventist Church building located right next door to Baker View Christian School, and WTB's organizing staff is looking forward to some more permanent aspects so people won't need to spend quite so much time building up and tearing down temporary structures every single year that this event happens.

When Is Walk Through Bethlehem?

Please double-check the WalkThroughBethlehem.org website to verify the planned dates. For instance, at the time of this writing, the next planned event will occur during the year 2018.

In recent years, we have been offering this from Thursday through Sunday for a single week. We have been doing this during the first “full” (Thursday through Sunday) weekend of December. This places the event one or two weeks after the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

The project remains rather dormant for much of the year, but does get started sometime before American Thanksgiving. (If it's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving, it may be time for volunteers and visitors to start checking for public announcements of any updates.)

This is the basic schedule that has been happening in the most recent years:

Week's DayStartEndFundraiser Food
Thusday6pm8pmTostadas
FridayNone -- only free snacks
SaturdayTostadas
SundayTostadas

Coming during the earlier hour is a good idea so that there is ample opportunity to experience the attractions without any time pressure before some events start to close up.
People who arrive much after 7:30pm will not have much time to be trying to experience everything.

The “fundraiser food” is not being prepared Friday evening, in recognition of the Sabaath. As was experienced in Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus, this starts at sunset following the afternoon of the sixth day of the week. We're remaining true to that same schedule.

Where is this?

This is located at the following address:

Baker View Christian School
5353 Waschke Rd
Bellingham, WA 98226

It is located across the street from soccer fields.

Here is Google Maps focused on Baker View Christian School. Although this is on Waschke Rd, note that people taking Northwest Ave from South (from most of Bellingham) will drive right past another Waschke Rd which does not connect. Avoid that “dead end” road which will not be helpful for finding us. This is not an issue if you reach Smith road from another direction, such as coming from the Guide Meridian, as described by the back side (second electronic page) of the Handbill (available in the section about Walk Through Bethlehem flyers.)

How to come

Dressed warmly! Most of this event occurs outdoors, on grassy (and, therefore, perhaps a bit dirty/muddy) ground.

Plan to spend some time enjoying yourself. After the brief visit to King Herod's throne, the experience is self-paced. Also, refreshments will be provided.

How can Walk Through Bethlehem be even better?

Come Experience It!

Double-check the schedule. If a year's Walk Through Bethlehem is not yet completed at the time that you're reading this, then come check it out. Even better, invite some family and friends to join you.

Even if you are unable to personally visit this year, please help share the excitement. Spread the word. Let people know the schedule.

Thank you.

Flyers

Here are the flyers that were released for 2015:

Volunteer Opportunities

We could use help! With over a decade of successful Walk Through Bethlehem events, we've learned where some help can be provided. Additional help can improve the end results, and make life easier for some other volunteers. Please, come help us!

Help spread the word
Volunteer coordinator

We rourtinely have some volunteers that need to be contacted. They have expressed interest before, and may not want to miss out, but this project needs someone who has the time to contact the known volunteers. We need to check who is available, and whether what role they may be available for. This role isn't primarily about recruiting new people who haven't signed up yet. Rather, the focus is working with people who have already shown interest.

Acting

Do you have what it takes to play the part of Jesus? Probably not. This role is fulfilled by a newborn baby, and if you're reading this, surely you're too big for that role.

However, what about other roles? We regularly staff positions such as Mary, Joseph, roman guards, magi, shopkeepers, entertainers (like dancers) and other villagers, a preacher, a tax collector, and more. Some roles may be fulfilled by the same person all night and every night, while other rules may have different staff members throughout the event.

Please let us know what roles you may be most interested in, or what other positions you may be available for.

Also, if you know of another person (such as a newborn baby) who may be a good fit for any position, please have that person (or, for younger people, parents) reach out to us.

Costumes are typically provided by the Walk Through Bethlehem event, so no need to worry about such supplies.

Other Active Production Roles

Examples of roles that may commonly have benefited by having more people include:

Other positions may become more apparent as the scheduled time gets closer.

Construction

At the time of this writing, Walk Through Bethlehem is seeking experienced people and has some budget for professional services.

In some prior years, the entire construction effort has been purely volunteer labor. Even when some professional expertise was being applied, those experienced staff members may still benefit from additional help. The need to move some materials also extends beyond our production's final day.

We have been able to effectively utilize people who can help in many different ways:

Please join us, as more volunteers help make life easier and make activities more pleasant.

Other preparation roles
Media Staff

So far, this website has been created and updated pretty quickly. It has served its basic purpose as an information base. Improvements could make it even better.

Here are some ideas:

For this specific role, please contact a web staff member at (360)389-2869 (using text messaging or leaving voicemail if unanswered).

People with visual design skills may also be able to help work on some print media. If this sounds like something you have some skills for, please contact our staff.

If you can help us, please reach out. Until/if we have other contact information to reach a volunteer coordinator, that contact information we have for new helpers is the Walk Through Bethlehem Director, Angela Langley, at 360-739-4695.

Fundraiser

The 2015 Fundraiser has been successful. Our critical budget for 2015 has been reached. We are thankful for all those who assisted in taking care of this specific need.

We've been very happy to be provide this event, and will happy to accept contributions to the budget which can assist with future events.

If you'd like to use a check, please write out the check to “Bellingham SDA Church”. (Bellingham SDA Church is a more formal organization, so checks should use that name, rather than Walk Through Bethlehem.) If you'd like to send this via mail, the correct address to use is:

Bellingham SDA Church
P.O. Box 278
Bellingham, WA 98227

To those who are willing and able, we have this brief two-word message: Thank you. We do appreciate being able to provide this event.

Additional Information Online

Community Involvement

The Walk Through Bethlehem event has been an opportunity to provide this service to the local community. The theme is clearly Christian, focusing on Bethlehem which is the city where Jesus Christ was born. The content of this event is expected to be widely comfortable for all who appreciate the biblical Nativity story.

Walk Through Bethlehem takes place on the property of Baker View Christian School. Besides providing basic education for people before their high school years, Baker View Christian School's site is used for hosting Best Childcare Development Center. The site is also used for hosting church service (where a congregation meets weekly). Besides just the school, the Walk Through Bethlehem event is also strongly supported by local congregations of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

More Explanations

The reason that the Synagogue has a Jewish symbol (the “Star of David”) is that the human community in Bethlehem was not widely acknowledging the significance of Jesus at the time of his birth. Crosses (as religious symbols) may be rare or even unseen entirely, for the same reason that electricity is not used for many parts of the event. These things were not part of Bethlehem at the time Jesus was born, so they aren't prominently featured in this re-creation Bethlehem. The lack of electricity is why so many of the pictures show night-time firelight. We have found that firelight is quite effective at providing necessary light and helping to establish the nativity environment.

Have you ever seen a Christmas card with a nativity scene? Well, this is a chance to become part of one. Come on by!