Volunteers Collaborate to Build Nativity Scene in Calais

The nativity scene in Calais represents a collaborative effort of three local churches, and it will remain in place until January 1st. Next year, volunteers are hoping to continue the tradition. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson


Scenic downtown Calais has been graced by a new sight: a nativity scene in Heritage Park. The scene was built and erected through the efforts of volunteers from two churches, using figurines from a third church in Eastport. It was completed on Friday, December 1st.

“We felt it was a good thing for the two churches to do, to hopefully set the tone to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas,” said volunteer Vinton Cassidy. “We all get wrapped up in gift giving, which is wonderful, Santa Claus and all those things, but the real meaning of Christmas is the nativity.”

The project got underway when volunteers contacted Father Kevin Martin at Immaculate Conception Church and Pastor Matt Burden at Second Baptist Church to discuss the idea. “They both said sure, they thought it would be a great idea,” Cassidy said. 

After gathering volunteers from the two churches, the next step was to construct a suitable stable for the nativity to be housed in. The volunteers contacted Joyce and Tom Pottle from Pembroke Lumber Company, who agreed to donate scrap wood for the cause. 

Once the stable was constructed, a set of figurines had to be located. There wasn’t enough time to order a set and have it delivered, nor were funds immediately available, but luckily St. Joseph’s Church in Eastport agreed to let the group borrow a set of nativity figurines. After some refurbishing of the angel, courtesy of Anne Cassidy, the set was ready to go.   

With the stable and figures prepared, the volunteers contacted the City Council and requested permission to set up the display downtown. Permission was granted for Heritage Park, and the volunteers quickly set into motion to get the scene erected in time for the Christmas parade. They succeeded despite a morning shower.

The figurines will be returned to St. Joseph’s on January 1st, but the stable will be kept in storage. Next year, the volunteers are aiming to collect funds to have their own figurines to maintain the nativity scene in Calais year after year.

Building a nativity scene in Calais at the Heritage Park are volunteers (left to right) Vinton Cassidy, Gary Madore, Butch McLaughlin, and Roy Curtis. The stable was constructed using wood donated by Joyce and Tom Pottle. (Photo by Lura Jackson)