Bethel dedicated it's new Nativity at the P.T. Barnum Square on Friday, November 16 in a ceremony attended by local religious and civic leaders.
A group, organized by Bethel resident Timothy Martin, raised $5,000 to pay for the replacement of the Nativity, which has been housed at the Methodist Church.
There was some controversy over the ownership of the previous display, which the Bethel Chamber of Commerce had taken over about 8 years ago when the Town determined that it could no longer own or organize the Nativity due to Constitutional challenges in other communities that established essentially a ban on government display of specific religious symbols.
In 2017 the Bethel Chamber of Commerce relinquished ownership of the Nativity after issues around the management and coordination of the display, and declined to take ownership of the new Nativity this year, instead encouraging local organizations to step forward and take on the role of managing and displaying the new Nativity.
The new Nativity at Bethel's P.T.Barnum Square