BETHLEHEM — A Raise the Star Committee was formed during the summer to discuss planning for the building and lighting of the new Bethlehem Star.

On Oct. 23, 2017, the Bethlehem Star was damaged beyond repair by a 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 churches, and other interested parties met, creating the committee.

Since 1977, the Bethlehem Star has graced the skyline as a 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 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, Nov. 20.

To donate, contact Mike Stone, chairman for the committee, at 828-495-8251 or send an email to secretary@mtpisgahelca.org. 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 November. Jack Hicks, of Hicks Trucking of Elk Park, has 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 p.m. at Mt. Bethel Methodist Church at 9042 N.C. 127 North 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 Dec. 1 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, Dec. 1, with the hot dog meal beginning at 6:30 p.m. Star-lighting activities will begin at 7 p.m. 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 N.C. 127 North in Bethlehem. For more information, call the church at 828-495-8251; or visit its Facebook page at Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church ELCA or its website at www.mtpisgahelca.org.

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