65kg camel in Auckland’s biggest Christmas display at St Benedict’s in Newton

Press Release – St Benedicts

The nativity scene showcasing one metre tall ceramic figurines, with a specially printed backdrop of Bethlehem town.

St Benedict’s Church in Newton invites the public to view what it believes to be Auckland’s largest religious Christmas display. The display consists of two well-known scenes from the bible: wise men on their journey from the East bearing gifts, and the popular crib or nativity scene.

The draw card for these scenes is the size and detail of the ceramic figurines that were donated to the church in the late 1950s by a family who were then parishioners. The figurines which consist of Mary, Joseph, the Christ Child, shepherds, wise men and assorted animals including a 65kg camel and various sheep, are about one metre tall and were imported from the Netherlands backdrop of Bethlehem town.

Although the church has displayed these Christmas figurines for over half a century, this year the figurines are mounted on custom built platforms, with a manger and backdrops to showcase the figurines to their potential. With the platforms and backdrops measuring between 8 and 13 square metres, the two Christmas scenes definitely provide a “wow” factor for visitors to the church. Monsignor Paul Farmer, Parish Priest at St Benedicts, remembers as a young boy coming to St Benedict’s Church to see these figurines that were very talked about at the time. He hopes that families who make the annual trip to view the Franklin Road Christmas lights will also include the Christmas display at St Benedicts as part of their trip. “The church will be open daily for visitors to enjoy the display till 9pm. We’ve enjoyed these beautiful Christmas figurines for so many years and we thought it’s about time we shared these with the public.”

“There are many beautiful and awe-inspiring Christmas displays around Auckland of Santa Claus and his reindeers, giant Christmas trees, presents and decorations. The Christmas scenes of the wise men on their journey and the nativity scene at St Benedicts serve to remind us that Christmas isn’t just about presents or decorations – there is a good reason why the festival exists. It is about the birth of a Saviour and of God’s love for the world, and is the ultimate love story of selfless love and sacrifice,” says Monsignor Farmer.

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