Giant puppets put playful spin on Missouri church’s nativity story

Giant_Puppets_1-1.jpgThe three Wise Men used during the annual nativity performance at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ are so big it takes three people to operate each one. Standing nearly 10 feet tall, the larger-than-life puppets are the stars of the show at the Kansas City, Mo., church, which draws more than 200 people from the community each Christmas Eve.

“Why not giant puppets?” said the Rev. Jodie Wright, pastor of St. Peter’s UCC. “They help tell a very big story in a very big way.”

St. Peter’s UCC began its unique giant puppet nativity performance about 10 years ago. Members helped construct the giant Wise Men using paper mâché for their heads and fabric for their bodies. The play also incorporates three shepherds, played by adults wearing costumes and large paper mâché masks, and a “multitude” of angel windsock puppets made by children of the church out of fabric and cardboard. Wright pens a new script each year that has a different twist on the traditional story, which is then performed by church members.

“It’s a family-friendly service,” Wright said. “I have to say that the elderly people love it as much as the little kids.”

Giant_Puppets2.jpgSt. Peter’s UCC is not the only area church that has fun with the giant puppets. The church loans them to several other Kansas City congregations for special events throughout the year. Bethel UCC utilizes the puppets during an annual fall festival, and Southwood UCC uses them each year during a holiday performance in early December. By incorporating such a playful spin, Wright hopes her church’s performance gives the timeless story new meaning and presents it to audiences in a memorable way.

“I hope it makes the story accessible not just something long ago and far away,” Wright said. “I hope it makes it something very real and present and large and in the moment.”

Categories: United Church of Christ News

Related News

UCC national setting to welcome guests in Oct. 19 open house

The United Church of Christ national setting has new digs. And national staff are ready to...

Read More

UCC launches emergency appeal for 2022 hurricanes – Ian, Fiona and those still to come

The 2022 hurricane season started slowly – until, in the space of 10 days, two catastrophic...

Read More

UCC ecumenical officer: Reuniting with partners around just peace in a time of war

The Rev. Mark Pettis, who began work in 2021 as the United Church of Christ's ecumenical and...

Read More