Story of Bethlehem set for McKinney Chapel

COUNTY — The long-ago story of a miracle in a stable in Bethlehem will be told again, at McKinney Chapel, in Pickens County’s Eastatoee Valley, on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m.

It’s a traditional gift to everyone who comes to the tiny old church, and everyone is invited.

For three decades, since the abandoned frame chapel was restored by its community, in the early 1980s, the old-time pageant, with Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus, the angels, shepherds and wise men, the harmonica player and country-bred singers with the classic Sunday School piano, has offered its time-honored message. 

Long experience has taught the program’s directors, Georgia Chapman and her daughter Gail Edwards, that the old way is what the visitors are looking for.

“We’re keeping it traditional,” Chapman said.

Dr. Jim Mahanes will be the narrator, with Rev. Larry Smith as minister. Music will include area string band players.

The cast of angels and usual characters will include whoever shows up, made instantly convincing by costumes wrought by Chapman from thrift-store finery. A reward of the program’s simplicity is that many of the thousands who have come, over the years, have called it their richest Christmas experience.

A bonfire social follows, with refreshments for all. Everything is free. Those who wish to bring something for the sheltered picnic table are welcome to do so.

McKinney Chapel is near the Lake Keowee end of Cleo Chapman Highway, in Eastatoee. Churchgoers are admitted through the gate of the Cliffs Vineyards development.

For more information, call Chapman at (864)868-2555.