By JENNA LOUGHLIN
OBSERVER Assistant News Editor
GOWANDA - Ever wanted to see what the world might have looked like during the life of Jesus? Then the Fontanini heirloom nativity style set on display by Love In the Name of Christ in Gowanda could be just what you are looking for.
"This is the whole life and whole story (of Christ)," Director of Love INC Fred Johnson said. "It is one of the most complete sets in Western New York."
The set was donated to Love INC by the Kramer family, who were assisted by Love INC and its volunteers in fixing the damage done to their house after the flood in August of 2009. According to Johnson, Kevin Kramer had been collecting the set for over 14 years and it now contains over 4,000 pieces, from baskets of food to animals to people to buildings.
"He had never seen it all set up together," Johnson said. "The focus is just that he wanted to share this with everyone."
OBSERVER Photo by Jenna Loughlin
Love INC in Gowanda has more than 4,000 pieces of the Fontanini heirloom nativity on display every weekend through Lent at Academy Place.
The collection is the five inch Fontanini nativity set which is made of ceramic, resin, wood and plastic and is distributed by Roman's, Inc. The set on display starts with Mary on the donkey and follows the life of Christ to include the census taker, the boat at Galilee, palm Sunday and the crucifixion. There is even a scene for Saint Francis who is said to have come up with the first nativity.
"The thing that touched me was the detail," Johnson said.
The nativity scene is currently on display Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. from now through April 22 at the Academy Place, 1 School St., in Gowanda, which donated an empty room to display the pieces. On Good Friday, Johnson is planning on having a reflective atmosphere for the holiday.
Additionally, tours can be set up by calling 532-3541 between 9 a.m. and noon Monday, Wednesday or Friday. There is no charge, but any donation made would be used by Love INC to help with people and programs in the Gowanda area.
Love INC is a national organization with 165 chapters nation wide and one in Kenya. The local Gowanda chapter is one of three in Western New York with the other two in Springville and Jamestown. Its motto is "Transforming lives and communities in the name of Christ."
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