Rhode Island church recasts the Nativity with Jose, Maura…and a girl named Hope?


Photo by Bob Plain

Kathy Schiffer found this curiosity:

The babe in the manger is a girl named Hope.  Joseph (er, “Jose”) is an illegal immigrant looking for a job in the U.S.  Mary (“Maura”) is a teenage runaway who fled her Connecticut home after her parents became upset upon discovering her pregnancy.  The Angel Gabriel, nicknamed “Gabe,” is a homeless black man.

The reinterpreted Nativity, its characters hewn by chainsaw artist Michael Higgins, stands in Tiverton Four Corners, Rhode Island.  The unconventional display was conceived by Bill Sterritt, pastor of the Amicable Congregational Church.  Sterritt envisioned the Christmas story in modern times.

Well, now.  That’s, um, different.

Bob Plain, up in Rhode Island has more:

Minister Bill Sterritt [shown in the photo above] remade the original Christmas story in modern times, and added an overtly-progressive theme to the tale of a special baby being born under less than ideal conditions.

The Biblical character of Joseph is represented by Jose, an out-of-work migrant worker in this country illegally. Mary is Maura, a pregnant teen who runs away from her home in Connecticut after being shunned for her unexplained pregnancy. The Angel Gabriel is a homeless black man named Gabe.

“Just Biblically speaking if you take the story they are on the road and can’t afford a room,” Sterritt told me when I stopped by on Friday afternoon. “If that isn’t being homeless, I don’t know what is. We have this vision of the Christmas story being warm and gentle. The manger was a feeding trough. It was a damp cave meant for cattle and sheep.”

He represents the magi with a Buddhist, a Muslim and a Hindu. The lead role is played by a girl named Hope.

“The Christmas story is one of hope,” he said. “Once that came to me, Jesus became a girl.”

The pastor’s reinterpretation of the Christmas story is being serialized here.

Somewhere, Luke is doing this:


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