– The New Life Community United Methodist Church took the usual Christmas nativity scene one step further with live actors and animals Monday evening. Pastor Brian Harkness said this was the second live nativity scene the church has sponsored, but the first in its new location at 116 West Main Street in Hebron.
Nativity members were Bill and Kristine Pollard and Chris Gill as shepherds, Kelsey Pollard as an angel, Shawn Lanaghan, Scott Woodrum, and Cole Shriver as wise men, Brandon Phillips as Joseph, and Faith Harkness as Mary. Chris Alan built the set.
The New Life Church began June 2003 when the Bishop of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church appointed Harkness and his family to start a new church in the Hebron and Pataskala area.
Harkness had the freedom to pick where he would live and how he would proceed, and settled in Hebron. He had about 15 people ready to help him by mid-July.
The first public service was Dec. 7, 2003 at the Lakewood Middle School cafeteria. Then the church began meeting monthly at the Lakewood Middle School auditorium, where more than 60 people attended.
By Aug. 2004 the church grew to 70 to 80 worshipers who were coming to the preview services and were beginning to help with ministries.
Harkness began weekly worship Sept. 19, 2004 with 155 worshipers. The church currently welcomes many new families and has baptized nearly 40 people in its first four years.