HARRISON, N.Y. - Pastor Jack Yurus and the rest of the Hudson Valley Family Church may have relocated from Manhattanville College to West Harrison less than a month ago but that didn't stop the town from embracing the group as it showcased its first live nativity scene last week.
"To see the way this town comes together is something special," Yurus said. "Our desire is to be a blessing of this community and to be so welcomed has been very refreshing."
The live nativity scene was on display from Dec. 21 through Dec. 23 and full of narratives, Christmas carols and bright lights. Residents filled Gainsborg Avenue in West Harrison to the point where Harrison police blocked off the road for the performance.
Yurus said the event was memorable enough that it will become a holiday tradition for the church in West Harrison.
"Each night brought more people than the last," Yurus said. "The people absolutely loved it and the crew did a wonderful job."
Members of the church from all backgrounds and ethnicities came together to arrange and perform the nativity scene and Yurus said he hopes to expand it to next year's holiday tree lighting in town.
As the church continues to grow and make its mark in West Harrison, Yurus said he was feeling more welcome with every new friend he makes. The church will host a Christmas Eve candlelight worship service Saturday night at 6 p.m. to show the town that its doors are open.
Yurus grew up in Yonkers and worked as a painter while enjoying his experience with many different local sports leagues from hockey to baseball. But when reflecting on the holiday season and starting a church, he said Christmas was every day for him.
"Growing up, Christmas used to be special because it was one of the only times I would talk to God," Yurus said. "But God's creation was to have a relationship with us all year. Every day is Christmas to me now."
The cast of the live nativity scene was:
Mary: Naomi Novik
Joseph: Stan Silkowski
Shepherds: Cisco Lopez, Greg Denizard, Anthony Galella , Thomas Zappala, Joseph Zappala, and Bob Ogrodowczyk
Wisemen: Ralph Tirado, Ramaul Morgan, Paul Novik
Gabriel: Rob Ceci
Singers: Marilyn Yurus, Holli Tirado, Tiffany Ronda, Corinne Garcia Directed by Tiffany Ronda
Sound: Jon Ronda
Lighting: Darren Garcia and Nick Franco
Costumes: Patti Garcia and Darci Garcia
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