Hundreds of people packed into St Mary’s Church in Snettisham on Sunday for a nativity story with a difference.
Live animals accompanied a re-enactment of the Christmas tale for the second year in a row.
Churchwarden Marian Abramovich said: “We had more than 300 people attend. Everybody just had a noisy time. All of the readers were children and we had carols and songs sang by Snettisham Primary School.”
Mrs Abramovich said the nativity story was brought to life in the church by local children who played Mary and Joseph and a real-life baby who took on the role as baby Jesus.
“He was born about 10 weeks ago and he is the grandson of one of our regular members of the congregation,” she added. “The service was led by the team rector, the Rev Veronica Wilson, and a talk was given her sidekick the Rev Capt Paul Niemic.”
Mary and Joseph were played by Leah Yedham and Ethan Newton-Walters, both aged 11.
All 15 of the animals, including donkeys, goats, sheep, ducks, rabbits, ponies and calves, were provided by Trevor and Colleen Walters of Snettisham Park, who are also regular visitors to the church, Mrs Abramovich said.
“If you can’t tell the story in words, then you can tell the story live and it has a more immediate impact.”
St Mary’s is also celebrating the Christmas season with an advent wreath festival, with about 60 organisations in the village having made their own wreaths to be displayed around the church.
Members of the public will be able to view this display at the church until January 6, to coincide with Epiphany.
Another festive service is also due to be held at the church this Sunday, Christingle, which is expected to host around 200 children.
“At Christmas, the accent is on children primarily so it’s most appropriate to focus on them. The church holds nearly 400 people so it’s great to see it almost full,” added Mrs Abramovich.