First Presbyterian gets creative with annual Nativity Celebration

in Arts/News by

From staff reports

As many look for new ways to celebrate the season while gathering safely with friends and family, First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort’s 10th Annual Nativity Celebration “Through the Glass” may hit all the right notes.

The downtown Beaufort church will open its historic sanctuary grounds to the community from Dec. 4 to Jan. 6 for day or evening self-guided tours of 12 beautiful nativity displays in 12 sanctuary windows.

In the past, First Presbyterian’s Nativity Celebration was a three-day event welcoming more than 600 people to view more than 100 nativities from around the world. But this year needed to be different.

“This has been a true team effort by countless women in our church,” Nativity Event Coordinator Donna Sheetz said in a release. “But none of this would be possible without Mary Ragsdale, a creative member of our church, who not only had the idea of window nativities, but helped make it all come to life.”

In addition to the 12 window nativities displayed, church member and artist Betty Holt has created a magnificent hand painted life-sized crèche for the front steps of the sanctuary. Evening is an especially great time to come experience the Nativity Celebration as the windows, crèche and Sanctuary grounds are lit.

“This year’s event is truly going to be one-of-a-kind and it has helped us realize a real blessing in the midst of so many disappointments,” Sheetz said. “Like so many other churches, our sanctuary has been closed since March because of the social distancing necessary during the pandemic. But it has created an opportunity to take over the inside of the church for all the necessary behind-the-scenes infrastructure to create these window displays.”

First Presbyterian is located at 410 Church Street in downtown Beaufort. For more information, visit