Scenes from the Nativity story are being set up in a Dorchester church with help from the local community.

St Mary’s Church in Edward Road is being decorated ahead of Christmas with the help of the Prince Of Wales school among other local organisations.

The final pieces of the celebration display are being put in place on Saturday, December 16, in time for a carol service on Sunday, December 17, and will stay in place over the remainder of the festive period.

Jill Minchin is one of the co-organisers of the celebration, along with Di House, who are both active members of St Mary’s with wide connections to Dorchester and its many organisations.

Dorset Echo: Pupils fro the Pince of Wales School created the crib scene Pupils fro the Pince of Wales School created the crib scene (Image: Jill Minchin)

Jill said: “As it is a large church there is room for everyone, and this year we decided that we would like to make a more specific invitation to the community (young and old) to be part of our Christmas celebrations. 

“A good way of doing this, apart from coming to our services, is to join in decorating the church for Christmas, and as the Nativity story is so well known and with such a large cast of characters, we invited the local community to make illustrations of elements of that story. 

“This being our inaugural celebration we are delighted to have contributions from the Prince of Wales school, from some of the organisations who have connections to either the church or our hall, from groups and individuals within the church community and from a local artist, Emily Morgan. 

“Next year we hope that there will be more contributions from our local community.”

Among the illustrations that will be on display are angels, shepherds, sheep, stars, wise men, oxen, and camels that help to tell the story of the famous Christmas story.

The display will be available for anyone to come and visit the church free of charge from Sunday, December 17 from 10am until 4pm daily as they look to encourage locals to come into the church and celebrate Christmas.

Vicar at St Mary's, the Reverend Jimmy Holden added: “We know that people in our community, especially our young people, are really creative, and are always making sense of the story of Jesus' birth in new ways.

“It's a privilege of being a parish church that you get to host and celebrate that creativity. I hope that this Christmas will be the first of many when people offer their creativity to challenge and inspire us as we wait for Jesus' birth.