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Review

Small Church's Manger Scene Serves as Rural Outreach

A small AG church in southwest Washington ministers to its community through an impressive life-size manger scene decorated with thousands of lights.

It's their Christmas message and a come-and-visit invitation.

Every Christmas, a small Assemblies of God church in an unincorporated logging community in southwest Washington puts up a life-sized manger scene with thousands of lights.

"We're trying to fill out Maytown as the Bethlehem of Thurston County," Pastor George C. Coley says. "Come see the Christ child."

It's a bright and colorful reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season. It's also an outreach for this church that averages 50 attendees for Sunday services in Maytown.

"The church has really taken it to heart," says assistant pastor Carolyn Chester. "It's one of our major ministries because people can see it driving by."

Originally, the manger scene with about 20,000 lights went up in 1959 on a lake in Olympia, Washington, and was called Christmas Island. Coley, who grew up in Olympia, took possession of the manger scene when it was put into storage.

In 2012, Coley became lead pastor at the Maytown church and he used the historic Christmas scene as an evangelistic tool.

Next to the manger scene in its Fireside Barn, the church serves coffee and cookies on weekends during the Christmas season.

"People can just stop and slow down and enjoy the sights and the sounds and the lights," Coley says. "It's a great evangelistic tool."

For more information about Maytown Assembly of God and more pictures of the manger scene, see the church's website.