Nativities (2019 edition)

Have you seen the nativities throughout the building in December? Thanks to Ann, we can see sets from around the world!

(2019) Ann Bloomquist Jarema has been collecting nativity scenes for the last ten years, and sharing them at church for the last seven. At first, Ann saw that the church was displaying nativities at Christmas and she offered to share a few of hers. Once she saw people enjoying the nativities, especially the children in awe of some animal scenes, she knew she wanted to keep collecting!

For a couple of years, Ann’s work required international travel. Along with her colleagues, she would spend her free time searching for nativities. The biggest adventure she encountered finding a nativity was in Bulgaria. Ann hired a tour guide to find churches in the area so she could find a nativity. Her tour guide took her by an artisan market where a lady was selling painted eggshells (one of her most fragile nativities). Since the area isn’t into material symbolism, making nativities was a rebellious thing to do, so she was lucky to find one.

Besides Bulgaria, Ann’s nativity sets come from Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Kenya, England, Colombia, Russia, Chile, Uruguay, Israel, Bulgaria, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and the majority from Mexico. Her favorite is a recent purchase from Santiago, Chile, where a local artisan hand-crafted a tiny blue blown glass set that is captivating when you see the light shine through it.

Ann shares over 30 nativities with us, and you can find most of them in the atrium story wall. Children-specific nativities are located by the Children, Youth, & Family office in the glass case. We also have one displayed under the Christmas tree in the Chapel, made by Cathy Bloomquist (Ann’s mother) and Cathy’s mother-in-law.

“My family helps set-up the display. It is fun to do this with my parents and kids (when my daughter is home from college and my son is available). This is something I like to give from my family to yours.” – Ann