Walk Through Bethlehem

Join us online in 2020 as we bring the magic of Walk Through Bethlehem into your home!

As a gift to our church and our community, Simpsonwood has re-imagined our annual Walk Through Bethlehem event into a video experience that can be enjoyed no matter where you celebrate Christmas this year. You’ll see shops and characters that you know and love from our in-person event (the camels, too!) all while witnessing the Christmas story in a new and exciting way.

Simpsonwood UMC has teamed up with local members of the film industry to re-imagine their annual Walk Through Bethlehem event into a movie experience that will be a part of our online Christmas Eve service. Along with traditional songs of the season and a Christmas message from Senior Pastor John Purrington, viewers will travel through the colorful shops of Bethlehem on their way to the manger. Together, viewers will experience the magic of the Christmas Story like never before.

Since 1991, thousands of visitors from all over Georgia and beyond followed the luminary-lit streets of Simpsonwood Park to enter the Walk Through Bethlehem. Camels and Roman Guards greeted guests as they approached the little town of Bethlehem on their way to the manger, all constructed by church volunteers in the park’s field.

“We knew that the number of Covid-19 cases was projected to rise around the holidays,” says Senior Pastor Reverend John Purrington. “We wanted to find a way to bring the magic of Walk Through Bethlehem and the Christmas Story to people while staying true to the guiding principles of the Methodist Church: 1. Do no harm, 2. Do good, 3. Stay in love with God.”

Following those principles, the staff at Simpsonwood decided they wanted to give a gift to their congregation and community. They wanted to deliver the magic and tradition of Walk Through Bethlehem to as many people as possible, no matter where they would be celebrating Christmas.

“With the help of Producer Judith Hoffman, Director Tom Rittenhouse, and Director of Photography Kristian Melom, we’ve created a Christmas experience that combines the warmth and tradition of Christmas with this exciting new Bethlehem story,” says Director of Communications, Laura Apsey. “And by hosting our service online, we hope to reach not only the people that visit us each year for Walk Through Bethlehem and our Christmas Eve service, but also anyone who may need a little extra Christmas magic this year.”

Simpsonwood’s Christmas Eve service will premiere at 5:00pm on December 24, on the Simpsonwood UMC website, Facebook page, and YouTube. Following the premier, service will be available on demand.

Would you like to receive links to our Christmas Eve service sent directly to your inbox? Just fill out the form below! By submitting this form you are opting-in to our Christmas Eve email only, we will not send you any additional emails without your approval.

Walk Through Bethlehem – 2019

Despite rain on Friday keeping the Bethlehem city gates closed, more than 2,500 people shared the story of Christmas with us on Saturday and Sunday night.

Walk Through Bethlehem is a one of a kind, stroll-through village and nativity scene, that recreates the atmosphere of Bethlehem as it might have been the night Jesus was born.  Visitors of all ages are inspired by hundreds of luminaries lighting the way to the entrance to the interactive village and live nativity.  After the census taker registers visitors you can visit with our live camels.  Roman guards allow visitors to pass through the gates to experience some 16 interactive shops lining the street. Visitors find that the story teller, campfire and live animals add to the atmosphere of the village.  The Three Magi walk through the village as they follow the star to the stable where baby Jesus is lying in a manger.  The natural beauty of the Simpsonwood Park has made our walk-through village unlike any other in the area.  Each visitor leaves feeling the true spirit of this holiday.  Members at Simpsonwood UMC truly enjoy sharing the Christmas story with our community.