Farmers host Nativity scene experience for church
DUBLIN, Va. — Members of New Dublin Presbyterian Church here in Southwest Virginia shared the Christmas story to its congregation Dec. 12 when a local farm family created a drive-through Nativity scene.
The congregation that traces its founding to 1769 and the Guthrie family whose roots go back to that time worked together to bring Christ’s birth alive for motorists driving around their state-of-the-art dairy barn complex on their Hillside Farm.
Dale and Janet Guthrie Flory and their son and daughter-in-law Scott and Laura Oglesby Flory, joined forces with their daughter and son-in-law Elaine and Dan Claffeys to host the event.
The Florys operate Hillside Farm, a 240-cow dairy, and and the Claffeys, both veterinarians, just celebrated a year as owners of their own animal hospital. Dale and Janet had started the dairy herd in 1980 on land that Janet’s family has farmed for 200 years and Laura and Scott joined the family business in 2009.
The location of the farm beside a primary highway and the configuration of driveways around the barns enabled the family to offer easy access and traffic flow. Visitors could see shepherds caring for their sheep, the innkeeper turning people away, the Holy Family and angels clustered around a live baby.
As visitors left, they saw wise men off to the East heading to the barn. A large, lighted star on a nearby silo, a long-time Flory tradition, could be seen as well.
The family was joined by church members, other relatives and friends in creating the different scenes along the way. One church family brought the sheep for the event and cared for them on the hill.
Curtains on the cow barn were left open so visitors could see the resting Holsteins that are milked by robots.
During the hour-long event, the family welcomed 25 cars carrying church members. They did not advertise the drive-through for the public, seeing it as a test run for future Christmases.
“I’m really proud of the members for making this happen,” the Rev. Sara Jane Nixon, church pastor,” said.
She added she is hopeful this will become a tradition.