The renewal of the children’s Christmas Pageant at the Church of the Good Shepherd started in 2009 and has continued every year since.
Our mission is to provide the children of our parish with a memorable experience regarding the traditional Christian Christmas story. We aim to involve not only the children but their parents and other interested adults who wish to help us with this mission.
We usually have ten parents assisting the children in learning their lines after church service plus seven to ten “pageant friends” (parishioners who do not have a child involved who help back stage on the day of the pageant) and many parents and friends contributing to lunch on the day of the pageant. Normally we have 35 children as actors, six as narrators, and a varying number in the choir.
It is rewarding to see our young parishioners grow up and to return to the pageant in roles of greater responsibility. Recently in order to keep some of the older “veterans” involved we have included them as stage hands. We also call on volunteers to help with costumes, props, set, lighting, sound and music.
The date for the pageant is normally chosen by the directors in consultation with our Rector. Usually it is the second Sunday following the Holly Fair so that there is no conflict. We start advertising the Pageant in September with save the date reminders in the Crook. In late October we have signups for the various roles of actors and adult helpers. The Directors then assign roles, usually based on grade.
Third or fourth graders get the prime roles of Mary, Joseph or Gabriel. Other third, second and first graders get one line speaking roles. Younger actors are assigned non speaking roles. In early November we start with in-classroom practices following the 10 AM service where the children learn their lines. In late November we have full practices in the Church where the Pageant is held.
We ask all parents to take their child’s costume home so that they can make any minor adjustments to them and to bring them back for dress rehearsal. The Saturday morning before the Pageant we have a full dress rehearsal with all sets, costumes, props, lights, sound and music. It is our opportunity to make any repairs to set or costume or changes to script. Following practice we remove all sets so that the Church is set for the 5:30 PM and 10 AM services.
Pageant Sunday is a busy day. You can feel the excitement building with the children and adults as well. The adults helping with the luncheon are busy with the preparation. The helpers are full of questions. Following the service the congregation is invited into the Parish Hall for lunch.
Following lunch the set crew starts the set up task. Working quickly it usually takes about 45 minutes. The actors get into their costumes. Following lunch we ask the congregation to return to the Church. They have a few minutes wait accompanied by some Christmas Carols while we get the actors to their respective spots and be sure everyone is ready for their cues. Finally the lights go down and the Pageant begins with the pageant choir singing.
The Christmas Pageant is a memorable experience for all the children involved, their parents and families, other involved adults, as well as the rest of the congregation and the many guests who join us to see and hear the blessed Christmas story.