The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 7, 2013

Christmas at Russell House | Biblical themes highlight display


JOHNSTOWN — Biblical themes will be showcased during Christmas at Russell House 2013 at Moxham Renaissance Community Center, 538 Park Ave. in the Moxham section of Johnstown.

The holiday display will be held from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 15.

This year’s theme, “In the Beginning,” will depict significant events of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ.

“This has been a collective effort,” said Susan Nickel, who is co-chairwoman of the event with Margaret Abram.

“We did some research, and it has been a learning experience.”

Outside, large angels guard the gateway, and the seven days of creation are depicted along the walkway.

The porch and front door are decorated with blue and silver.

The biblical story begins with “Fallen Angel” by Jean Tanaka, depicting the fall of Lucifer on a black tree with white and red lights.

“Adam & Eve” by Gina Tanaka is topped with a snake and decorated with apples, golden flowers and other fruit.

“Noah’s Ark” by Rose and Leslie Howarth, which is not completed, will feature animal figures and the ark.

“Rainbows” by Gina Tanaka, also not completed, will depict God’s promise not to flood the earth again with a white tree and multicolored pastel lights.

“Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors” by Mike Allen will feature multicolored ornaments and cutouts of coats outlined in sparkles.

“Moses” by Abram depicts the biblical figure at the top with significant events from his life below, such as a baby’s basket in the reeds, the burning bush, parting of the Red Sea, the golden calf and turning a rod into a snake, all with the Ten Commandments.

“Hanukkah Tree” by Pat Hull is a white tree  in bright blue and gold with a Star of David.

“Daniel in the Lion’s Den” by Jackie Triplin features Daniel at the top with more ferocious lions stalking him, while other lion figures and gold garland make up the remainder of the tree.

“Jonah and the Whale” by Helen Walker is done in blues, with seaweed, seashells and hand-painted pictures of ships and whales.

“The Prophet” by Rita Redden depicts John the Baptist, who foretold the coming of Christ, with a dove at the top and grasshoppers, honey, crystals for water and a burlap garland.

In the foyer, “The Nativity” by Nickel is topped by an angel and done in soft pinks and white with clear crystal ornaments and crystals from the chandelier at the Russell House.

There also is a matching wreath nearby and a nativity set on the mantel.

“Angels” by Jean Tanaka features crystal angels and pink butterflies.

“Churches” by Rose Howarth uses the white and gold Christian symbols.

“Old St. Nick” by Lolly Kennedy features red garland, old-time pictures of Santa Claus and names he is known by in various languages.

This free event has been sponsored annually by Moxham Renaissance since 2000.

All work is done by volunteers, and many of the ornaments are handcrafted.

In addition to viewing the decorated trees, other festivities will include visiting with Santa, who will be portrayed by Rick Makdad and Fred Sax; a train display by Rich Blackford; and sleigh rides through Moxham provided by Misty Haven Carriage Rides for a small fee.

There will be free refreshments for children and adults, treats from Santa for the children and a Kids’ Craft Corner.

Entertainment for Saturday will feature Harriet Miller, piano and vocal, at 1 p.m.; Bassett Family, guitar and vocal, at 2; the Rev. Ed Schoeneck, guitar and vocal at 3; Ian Jeffers, guitar and vocal at 4; Theatre Matters skit at 5; Charles Holtzman, piano, at 6; and Maria Naylor, vocal accompanied by Kathy Novak, at 7.

 Entertainment on Dec. 15 will feature Moxham Lutheran Church Choir with soloist Pastor Robert Wagner, at 1 p.m.; Rachel Allen, guitar and vocal, at 2; Johnny Bayush, violin, at 3; and Maria Naylor, vocal accompanied by Kathy Novak, at 4.

A biblical marketplace on the second floor will feature handcrafted jewelry by Karen Betting; handcrafted place mats and table runners by Janet and LuAnn Lees; handcrafted beeswax candles, soaps and salves by Darci Sanner of Summer Smiles Honey & Homegrown Goods; handcrafted floral arrangements by Lloyd Walk; and handcrafted baby items by Chris Tucker.

There also will be a basket auction, baked goods sale and poinsettias for sale.

‘In the Beginning’

What: Christmas at Russell House 2013.

When: 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 15.

Where: Moxham Renaissance Community Center, 538 Park Ave. in the Moxham section of Johnstown.

Admission: Free.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at