Utah is Hosting the National Convention for “Friends of the Crche”
An Organization for all who Love, Own, or Collect Nativity Scenes

Convention logo designed by Renae Bushman – Banner made by Lois Lecher

Visitors from across the country will be welcomed to Salt Lake City, Utah as the “Friends of the Crche,” Inter-denominational Society, gather for their bi-annual convention dedicated to the Christmas nativity. An opportunity to begin feeling the “Christ” in Christmas will be the emphasis at this event.

This national convention will be held for the first time in the Mountain West, November 12-15, 2009 (optional events on Sunday 15, 2009) at the Downtown Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City. The connoisseur as well as the casual admirer will find something to appreciate as they view exhibits, listen to knowledgeable speakers, get involved with presenters, or visit the Vendor Mart. This convention affords a rare opportunity to see unique nativities.

The Three Wise Men will highlight the Convention theme, “Follow His Star.”

The Reverend Richard Rehfeldt draws attention to the theme as he speaks to the topic, “Wise Men: Who Were They?” and Reverend Tim Goldrick will speak on the “Star of Bethlehem.”

The Convention is delighted to have as its Keynote speaker, Rev. Johann G. Roten SM.http://friendsofthecreche.org/speakerinfo_clip_image002.gifRev. Roten has been Director of the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton since 1989. He has been involved in the study and visual expression of the Christmas culture for many years. Over time the study of the relation between religion and culture lead to his collecting nativity sets, to multiple exhibits of museum-worthy quality, and to the creation of a small year-round crche museum located at the University of Dayton.

Other exceptional speakers include Richard Paul Evans, author of “The Christmas Box,” More than eight million copies of The Christmas Box have been printed. This book became an Emmy award-winning CBS television movie.

On display will be this reproduction, hand-painted cast resin,
Based on Antonio Rossellino’s terra Cotta from the mid 1400’s

Exhibits will include a 1,000 piece Fontanini Bethlehem Village, with handmade trees, flowers, and animals exquisitely detailed; a wise man table; crocheted display of over 300 ornaments; and much more.

Other Special Exhibits include Walter Whipple’s carved wood Polish Nativity Collection. His collection was a highlight at the L.D.S. Museum of Art last Christmas.

This example of Polish Nativities will be part of the Special Exhibits
Carved from one piece of Linden wood and hand-painted

Hand carved by Harald Kastlunger
This whimsical Creche has Mary wearing boots and carrying a knapsack

Brian Kershisnik will speak and display an 8′ giclee of his painting, “Nativity.” The original 17′ painting has been displayed at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Brian has exhibited extensively.

For the first time Utah High School age students have been invited to enter original art work depicting events related to the Nativity for a juried exhibit with cash prizes. Parochial and L.D.S. Primary School children have been asked to draw and color their renditions of the Nativity for display.

A “protective” Joseph wraps his cloak around Mary and Jesus.
Made of pressed wood from Germany
Nativity poetry will be displayed. A poem, “Joseph” states .”Is there a name for one who watches over God?”

Loretta Hines Howard gave her collection of Neapolitan crche figures and angels to decorate the New York’s Christmas tree at The Metropolitan Museum. Her daughter, Loretta Howard Sturgis will give her insights to this annual tradition of displaying the tree. Nancy Egbert has compiled a collection of, “Christmas Ideas for Children.” Julie L. Sloan, an authority on stained glass, will share, “History of Stained Glass and Its Depiction of the Nativity.” All activities are geared to bring our minds and hearts to the Christ Child.

The Churches near the convention center will open their doors to attendees. These historic edifices include the beautiful Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleine, Cathedral Church of St. Marks (affiliated with the Episcopal faith), Historic Temple Square dating back to the Mormon pioneer settlers, Calvary Baptist Church, and the First Presbyterian Church.

Salt Lake City and Suburbs ...
Cathedral of the Madeleine

Shoppers and collectors of Nativity handiwork will be delighted at a special auction and a raffle that will augment the Vendor Mart. The Convention highlight will, of course, be the exhibits of unique Nativity pieces.

Designer, Charla Khanna, created this one-piece in brocade fabric

Southwest Artist, Jil Gurule, creates delightful clay renditions of the Holy Family

Gifts, Handouts, Special Exhibits, knowledgeable Speakers, A Christmas Musical Presentation, Demonstrations, Nativity Vendors, and meeting new friends will make this convention a one-of-a-kind event.

Special convention exhibits are open FREE to the public on Saturday, November 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.