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Bethlehem, NC—This summer, the Raise the Star committee was formed to discuss planning for the building and lighting of the new Bethlehem Star. On October 23rd of last year, the Star was damaged beyond repair by the EF2 tornado that passed through Bethlehem. Pastor Mike Stone of Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church (the physical home of the Bethlehem Star), members of the Bethlehem Community Development Association (BCDA), Pastors from surrounding Bethlehem Churches, and other interested parties met, creating the committee. Since 1977, the Bethlehem Star has graced the skyline as a treasured symbol of the Bethlehem community in Alexander County. Planning and construction are moving forward with Rick Carpenter, and Carpenter Decorating, building the star and the committee working through the construction and event details. The Raise the Star Committee has listened closely to input from the Bethlehem Ministerial Association, during community meetings, and from input from various community residents.

Business support or individual donations are being gratefully accepted and all donors of $10 or more will have their names included on a plaque completed following the lighting of the new star. The deadline for donations is Tuesday, November 20th. To donate, contact Pastor Mike Stone, chairperson for the committee, at (828) 495.8251 or send an email to secretary@mtpisgahelca.org. Please include the following information: include either the donor’s name OR the name the donation is In Honor Of. This will be the name listed on the plaque. Include your address and contact information and amount of donation. Following the receipt of the email, you will be contacted directly to complete the donation process.

Several supplemental projects are in progress during the month of November. Jack Hicks, of Hicks Trucking of Elk Park, NC has generously donated two live, 13-foot, Norway Spruce Christmas trees that have been planted near the location of the star and will be decorated prior to the star lighting event. Plans also call for the re-painting of the nativity by Boy Scout Troop 275 and the purchase or refurbishment of the figurines in the nativity that will be lit during the Christmas Season. A Community Choir has been formed under the direction of Donna Reid. Rehearsals are every Thursday at 7:00 PM at Mt. Bethel Methodist Church at 9042 NC-127 in Bethlehem. All are welcome to participate. Committee member, Ken Wasmund is coordinating the appearance of the Southern Gospel Group, The Pathfinders, and the organization of the lighting and sound system for the event. Committee member, Betty Hollar is coordinating the sale of keepsake ornaments that were constructed by Latt Moretz out of pieces of the old Bethlehem Star. Wooden keepsake ornaments that will commemorate the year, designed and coordinated by Dennis and Peggi Parlier, will also be available for sale. The Mt. Pisgah Youth and church members will coordinate a hot dog meal, with a suggested donation of $5. Proceeds from a hot dog meal and sale of the keepsake ornaments on December 1st will be donated to Bethlehem Ministerial Association Benevolence Fund.

All additional plans and fundraisers will continue to be announced through the churches, newspapers, and online sources such as Mt. Pisgah (mtpisgahelca.org) and other websites, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Bethlehem Star Lighting will take place on Saturday, December 1st, with the hot dog meal available at 6:30 PM and on, and the Star Lighting activities beginning at 7:00 PM. There is no cost for attending the Star Lighting and parking is free. Mt. Pisgah and the Bethlehem Star are located in front of the Lowe’s shopping center on Route 127 in Bethlehem. For directions and further information, please call the church at 828-495-8251; or visit our Facebook page at Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church ELCA or our website at www.mtpisgahelca.org.

Photo: Mike Burris and Jack Hicks of Jack Hicks Trucking whose company donated two 13-foot Norway spruce.  Hicks brought trees from Elk Park, NC with two of his employees.  They used a track hoe to lift trees into holes they dug.  Trees weighed over one ton.   Mike Burris coordinated the donation. For more pictures of activity at the site of the Bethlehem Star, visit the Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church ELCA Facebook page or Instagram account (mtpisgahelca).

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