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A 'community of faith' - nativity returned
Observer Reporter ^ | 12/20/2010 | Kathie O. Warco

Posted on 12/20/2010 5:39:41 AM PST by kiki04

CANONSBURG - After weeks of controversy about whether a nativity scene should remain in front of the Canonsburg Borough offices, Janet Moeller wanted to make sure that Christ remains part of Christmas. Moeller and her sister, Dale Seamon, braved frigid temperatures and lightly falling snow Sunday to join about 100 others for an evening that included a live nativity scene and Christmas carols. The scene was set up in a lot adjacent to the borough building.

Earlier this month, a crèche that has been in front of the borough building for the past 57 Christmas seasons was moved after a letter from a resident complained about the nativity scene, saying it was disrespectful to Canonsburg residents who were not Christians.

On Dec. 13, borough council voted unanimously to allow the crèche sponsored by the Knights of Columbus to move back to its original location in front of Canonsburg's offices on East Pike Street.

Rate This Story: 1 the lowest - 5 the highest 1 2 3 4 5 Current rating: 5 Solicitor Pat Derrico suggested that the borough would likely lose a court fight if someone brought suit on the grounds that it violated the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state. But council decided it could meet the requirements of the law through a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that a crèche is allowable if it's part of a larger holiday display. Secular items have been added to the display in front of the building including mice playing instruments, candy canes and an igloo. "I came here to see the live nativity and sing Christmas carols," said Moeller, a lifelong resident of Canonsburg. "When I was growing up, there were always nativity scenes and people singing Christmas carols.

"There was no question for me, the nativity scene should be in front of the borough building," she added, saying she also has no problem if a Menorah also was displayed in front of the borough building. "It nice to know democracy did prevail."

Seamon said she could not believe the crèche was moved because of one letter sent to the borough.

"I wasn't aware we lived in a dictatorship," she said.

Seamon said her daughter, Cortney Deloach, has been following the nativity controversy from her home in Atlanta. Like her mom and aunt, Deloach grew up in Canonsburg.

Mayor David Rhome said plans for the live nativity had been in the works since the crèche was moved from in front of the borough building. Originally, it was to be in front of Washington Financial Bank but was moved back to adjacent to the borough building.

The live nativity was planned by the Canonsburg-Houston Ministerial Association along with the chamber of commerce and Nadeen Steffey, Main Street manager.

"It has been pretty crazy putting it all together," Steffey said. "But I think this could be an annual event, done out of spirit of community and not out of controversy."

There were a few snags along the way. Members of Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church agreed to portray Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. But then Joseph and Mary got sick. Mary recovered by Sunday night but another member of the congregation took over the role of Joseph.

Members of Houston United Presbyterian Church heeded a last-minute call for the manger. Barnyard Petting Zoo of Eighty Four provided the goats, donkey, calf and other animals for the live scene. Mt. Olive Baptist Church provided the music and mimes.

"It is a way for Christians to come together and support each other by re-enacting the birth of Christ and sharing in a time of fellowship," Rhome said. "It is a way to celebrate the birth of Christ together. It also shows the support for our right to have a nativity scene as a symbol that God is with us always."

Pastor Steve Parkhill of South Canonsburg Church said that in his 15 years here, he has never seen the community come together in such unity and with a central purpose as was done in the past few weeks.

"What had been seen as an obstacle was actually a stepping stone," Parkhill said Sunday, watching the crowd gather around the live nativity. "It brought together the community of faith.

"The pastors in this community more than arose to the occasion," he added. "People of completely different denominations came together as a family of faith."

The celebration continues tonight. Steffey said that a committee will be checking the streets of the borough tonight, judging the best Christmas decorations.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: canonsburg; christian; christmas
followup, a few weeks ago a pagan resident wrote to the borough complaining about the creche displayed in front of the building, and it was removed. Last week they decided to return it after LOTS of residents complained it was removed, then they did a live nativity.
1 posted on 12/20/2010 5:39:46 AM PST by kiki04
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To: surroundedbyblue; icwhatudo

ping, you both posted the first articles. This happened in my hometown, so I have been following the story. Glad they decided to put the creche back, then did a live nativity.

2 posted on 12/20/2010 5:44:45 AM PST by kiki04 ("If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is a man who has so much as to be out of danger?" - THH)
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To: kiki04
Way back in the Dark Ages when Jewish refugees first fled to the independent republic of Venice they were allowed to stay there on an island but they weren't allowed to enter the rest of the city because of their peculiar dress, beards and hair adornments.

Obviously a community cannot exist totally isolated by its dress code so one individual was selected to shave, cut his hair like the Christians, and adopt the dress code then standard among the Venetians.

He met with the Christians to do all the Jewish community's business. He could go to the courts. He could walk the streets. He could find militiamen. He could buy and he could sell.

All others were required to stay in GETO ~ the name of the Jewish quarter.

Today the same sort of mind-set guides the keepers of public morals and the dresscode. If you want to visit the courts and you bring along a "Baby Jesus in the Manger" stage set, they will set upon you and beat you. Should you prefer to "swear on a Bible" rather than simply "affirm" you may raise the ire of the public prosecutor. Should your complaint in a civil case be against one of the favored people, you will need to pay twice the court costs, bring twice the number of witnesses, and wait twice as long as the others.

But, hey, we've been working this down for quite some time, and there are those who say that eventually even our local governments will come around to the idea that people should be judged on the quality of their behavior and their character, not how they dress or ................. well, anyway, everybody's been working on that for a very long time ~ at least since Venice.

Maybe the newer idea could catch on all over Pennsylvania, and those who complain about such things could even be brought around to just leave other people alone with their own customs.

3 posted on 12/20/2010 5:59:07 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: kiki04

This solicitor is a dumbass - there is no separation of church & state in the constitution. I wish the borough council would have said “bring it on”.

4 posted on 12/20/2010 6:00:31 AM PST by surroundedbyblue
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To: surroundedbyblue

“...there is no separation of church & state in the constitution. I wish the borough council would have said “bring it on”.”


(More reason why we need to elect officials with BACKBONE.)

5 posted on 12/20/2010 6:13:05 AM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified Decartes))
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To: kiki04

I would like to see some of these pagans confronted by a group of believers.

6 posted on 12/20/2010 6:13:22 AM PST by thethirddegree
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To: kiki04
Thanks for the ping!

The background of the person who complained: Link

A SELF DESCRIBED bi-sexual atheist mental patient who hears voices that tell her to do horrible things. She is also a writer whose story "knife" is about demons cutting off genitalia.

7 posted on 12/20/2010 7:28:36 AM PST by icwhatudo ("laws requiring compulsory abortion could be ustained under the constitution"-Obama official)
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To: kiki04

“I wasn’t aware we lived in a dictatorship,” she said.

You’ll find out once this letter writer finds a Liberal judge who agrees with him

8 posted on 12/20/2010 8:25:26 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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