Oh furry night - church re-enacts Nativity with guinea pigs

The Guinea Pig Nativity at St Michael's Church in St Albans. 

The Guinea Pig Nativity at St Michael's Church in St Albans. - Credit: Arun Kataria

A St Albans parish has successfully worked with both children and animals to produce a Nativity presentation fit for a Covid-19 Christmas

In a season of comfort and joy, 'A Guinea Pig Nativity,' from St Michael's Church, is long on joy.

The YouTube film stars a cast of local, costumed and sometimes halo-ed guinea pigs with the narration of the familiar Christmas Story voiced by children from the church. No costumes were mistakenly eaten during filming.

The result is a skilfully edited Nativity story, told against a number of atmospheric and appealing backdrops, starring the guinea pigs in all the parts.

The Revd Kenneth Padley, Vicar of St Michael's, said: "We wanted to tell the familiar story in a different way and as this part of St Albans has a large and it turns out talented population of guinea pigs, as well as local guinea pig enthusiasts, the decision made itself.


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"We wanted the children who could not perform a traditional Nativity play to be able to hear and share the story in a way that is attractive fun and fitting in this bizarre year.

"Through congregational contacts, we have been able to share the video with several schools, churches, Scout, Cub and Brownie groups - even a children's hospital. We've also been delighted to make and renew connections across the country and overseas through YouTube; friends in Germany, Australia and America as well as round the country are already enjoying 'A Guinea Pig Nativity - as are many people via social media."

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"We are particularly blessed with the skills of Trevor Simpson in video editing, making it possible to do something that would probably have been impossible a year ago. The interesting question is whether we would ever have done this without the driving force of lockdown and yet it tells the familiar story in a fresh and memorable way. Isn't that what we are called to do?"

The cast of actors is gathered from local families and church connections from further afield. Furry stars include Amber as Mary, Simmy as Joseph, Patches as Angel Gabriel, Pumpkin as the Inn Keeper, Noël, Twitch and Wobble as Shepherds, not to mention the children who read and narrate with great clarity and timing, and who give the story great pace - it is told in under 12 minutes.

The Bishop of Hertford the Rt Revd Dr Michael Beasley, head of the St Albans Diocese, said: "As the restrictions of Covid get tougher and schools debate with the Government whether they should be open or online, this resource is one among the many which ensure that no one need miss out on the retelling of Nativity this Christmas. 

"One thing is for sure: The Guinea Pig Nativity provides an unforgettable moment of joy this Christmas. The only question for St Michael's is: how do you follow that?"

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