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A local church with more than 70 years of existence is trying something new this holiday season. 

Redeemer Lutheran Church and School, which has been located in Continental Ranch for about 15 years – and central Tucson for more than 50 years prior to that – will host its first-ever live nativity scene, with volunteers assuming the roles of Mary, Jesus, Joseph, angels, and shepherds in an effort to recreate the Christmas story.  A children’s choir as well as adult singing ensembles will perform during the free two-day event, scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. 

The nativity scene will be staged in the church parking so people can view the continual reenactments without leaving their vehicles by following pre-setup barricades.

The drive-thru route will consist of four separate stations showing varying scenes from the biblical story of Jesus, all of which are to be acted out by volunteers of the church. As guests pass each station, they will be able to tune into predetermined radio stations so they can hear a church pastor describing each scene.

The goal is to make the new event a more consistent thing.  

“Redeemer wants to make the live nativity its annual Christmas gift to the community,” said Cathalena Muscoreil, publicity coordinator. 

Tawnya Caldwell, an assistant principal in the Marana Unified School District, served as the project coordinator. As a member of the church, she hopes to see the event become a consistent occurrence. 

“I got the idea from my brother’s church in Phoenix, which has been highly successful,” she said. “If it goes well, the hope is that this will be an annual event and that the community will look forward to it every year.”

Caldwell said 20,000 post cards were sent out in the Continental Ranch area to market the event. Members of the church created all costumes, artwork, and displays. 

“We’re very excited about this, and the goal was outreach to the community,” she said. “We would like people to come to the church, but this has also been a good project for members of the church to come together to work on.”

Redeemer Lutheran Church and School moved to the Town of Marana after the churchgoers of its former location on Prince Road began to choose different areas of town to reside.

“The area where they had run the church and school for more than 50 years was rapidly losing population and dramatically changing; families were fleeing the area for newer subdivisions and more vibrant neighborhoods,” said Muscoreil. “The majority of the congregation moved with the church, many of them uprooting and resettling their families in Marana.”

The church, with close to 300 congregation members, has since played an active role in Continental Ranch, contributing to the community’s Little League organization and other programs. The church offers full-service pastoral care as well as a preschool and K-8 education. 

Redeemer Lutheran Church is located at 8845 N. Silverbell Road. More information about the church and the upcoming event is available on or at 572-8136.

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