By Rachel Carr, Diocesan Missioner for Communications
A sign reading "Christmas is Canceled in Bethlehem" punctuates a rubble nativity display on the lawn of the Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville.
"It's something we thought was powerful at this time. With this display, we are seeking to hold space and pointing to the woundedness and trauma of this group of people in the Middle East who are suffering under the horror of war," said the Rev. Will Bryant, All Souls' Associate Priest.
Last week, a group of young adults—who were inspired by the rubble nativity at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem—approached Dean Sarah Hurlbert and Bryant with the idea to build the nativity. The display was set up Sunday, Dec. 17.
"We want to be really clear that this is not a political or partisan statement. It's about the woundedness of innocent people. In the birthplace of Christianity, in our most sacred spaces, there is killing of innocent people," Bryant said.
The display includes signs with QR codes that connect passersby to resources from the Episcopal Church about the conflict in the Holy Land, as well as ways to contact local representatives to call for a cease-fire.
"We are not pro-political on either side," Bryant said. "We are pro-human."