The centuries-old New Utrecht Reformed Church in Bensonhurst hosted its annual live nativity scene on Dec. 17, despite the loss of a longtime organizer and its traditional use of live farm animals.
Last Saturday’s show went on, despite the passing Louise Fabiszak, an elder at the church who had organized the event for a long time, and the loss of a grant from Maimonides Hospital that was used in previous years to rent live farm animals, which delighted kids of all ages.
Crowds still lined up to observe the scene — which featured adults dressed up as Joseph, Mary, and a handful of angels and shepherds, all gathered around a baby doll Jesus in front of the historic church.
Performers say the roles are more posing than acting, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
“I try to stay in character while I stand still,” said Pat Capuano, who played the part of an angel for the first time, after previous stints as Mary and a shepherd. “It wasn’t bad this year — we’ve done it in the snow before.”
The event’s been going on for more than 30 years, but it isn’t always the same.
“We change it up every year,” said Carol Dickert, a deacon at the church. “As you get older you have to pass Mary down to a younger Mary!”
The event still left everyone with warm and fuzzy emotions — especially after it was followed by a monthly meal the church provides for the needy.
“Once you’re sitting there and doing the part, it’s just a wonderful feeling,” said Dickert. “You really get into it.”