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Pontypool church puts Nativity back in the high street

A church in South Wales has found an innovative way of spreading the Christmas message this year.

Members at Sharon Full Gospel Church in Pontypool had become concerned that local shops no longer displayed a nativity scene as part of their seasonal decorations – so they announced a competition called “Nativity in the Window” with a £100 first prize for the best nativity.

The winning entry (from a local hairdresser – see photos) was selected by another congregation from Pontypool church – one on the other side of the Atlantic.

Bethany Pontypool United Church is based in the town of Pontypool, Ontario. The town was founded in the 19th century by two settlers from South Wales, James Leigh and John Jennings. Present-day minister of the Canadian church Lynn Smith-Reeve said “It was wonderful to collaborate on something with the folks in the ‘other’ Pontypool. I hope we can do so again in future.”

Part of the winning entry's window display. The nativity is in the top image

Both churches, in Canada and Wales, have been busy running food share and other community support activities during the Covid-19 pandemic, and have a lot of things in common. They keep in regular contact online.

Pastor of Sharon Full Gospel Church, Mathew Bartlett said, “We’re so grateful to the community for coming together to take part in our first ever nativity in the window competition. Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus, and it’s encouraging to see local businesses recalling its true meaning.”

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