Our view: The rebirth of the Bethlehem Star is a tribute to the resilience of the Hickory neighborhood just across the river in Alexander County.
Why we believe that: In 2017, a tornado mangled the community’s Bethlehem Star, threatening the lighting of the star, a tradition that dates back to 1977.
Bethlehem was not having it.
Pastors, community members and more formed a committee titled Raising the Star and set about raising the money for a new star.
They succeeded and then some.
They set out to raise $17,000. To date, they’ve taken in $40,000. And people working on the star often took less than their usual fee to see it in place.
The star is located at Mount Pisgah Lutheran Church. Susan Greene, publicist for the church, shared the story of a crane operator who would accept nothing more than thanks for doing his part.
That’s another example of a community coming together.
The new star stands on a 50-foot perch. It’s 15 feet wide and 15 feet tall with 270 LED lights. It features a stronger base to protect it from the elements.
In conclusion: It’s big and it’s bright. But the reborn Bethlehem Star shines no brighter than the community that resolved to keep the tradition alive and raise a new light.
As Greene noted in an HDR article, “We started with almost nothing. No manpower, no money, no star.”
Bethlehem is, as she said, a small community with a big love for the star.
Editor’s note: A plaque is in production with the names of all who donated to the Raise the Star fund prior to Nov. 20. Additional donations, which organizers say will be received gladly, will be deposited into an escrow fund held for Bethlehem Star lighting events in upcoming years. This fund is presently holding donations, above costs from building the star this year, with the intent to add activities to future events.