by Judy Cleary
For the third year in a row, a Nativity Scene will stand in the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda Building this Christmas season. The Springfield Nativity Scene Committee (SNSC) sponsors the religious display which features statues of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a hand-crafted manger setting. The Nativity scene is underwritten by the Chicago-based Thomas More Society http://www.thomasmoresociety.org/.
"I am very honored to once again be part of a group that will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ," said Daniel T. Zanoza, Chairman, Springfield (Illinois) Nativity Scene Committee. "Besides its religious significance, the Nativity scene is a wonderful instrument which demonstrates that the expression of religious faith in the public square is still a constitutional right, contrary to the misconception many have today."
The reason the Springfield (Illinois) Nativity Scene is constitutional is due to the fact the display is privately funded and temporary in nature.
The manger scene was first put on exhibit in 2008. The upcoming Christmas season will mark the third year the manger setting will stand in the center of the Springfield, Illinois State Capitol Rotunda. Last year a standing room only crowd attended the opening day ceremony which featured the singing of Christmas carols by the Joyful Senior Singers & Ringers from the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Decatur. The festivities began with a religious invocation, followed by a few short speeches from SNSC members, including Thomas Brejcha, Founder and President of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society and SNSC's legal counsel; and Beth Rogers, a highly respected pro-family activist from Springfield.
This year's opening day ceremony will be held on Tuesday, November 30th from 12 Noon until 1 P.M. and the general public is invited to attend the festivities. The Nativity Scene will be on display throughout the Christmas season. Choirs who would like to perform on days after the November 30th opening day ceremony may do so by applying for a permit from the Secretary of State's Office.
"As far as we know, the Springfield Nativity scene is the only such religious display to stand in a state capitol building across the entire United States." said Zanoza. "It has been a pleasure working with the members of the Nativity Scene Committee which include Thomas Brejcha, Esq., Chicago-based Thomas More Society; Eunice Conn, Polo; Karl Fritz, Chicago; Pastor Dustin Fulton, Jefferson St. Christian Church, Lincoln; Daniel Gura, Lake Zurich; State Sen. Chris Lauzen, Aurora, "acting as a private citizen"; Bernie Lutchman, Business Men In Christ (Springfield); Beth Rogers, Springfield; Arlene Sawicki, South Barrington; David Smith, Illinois Family Institute; and Julie Zanoza, Lincoln. Without the help of these wonderful volunteers and the financial contributions from the public, the Springfield Nativity Scene would not be possible."
Last year the Springfield Nativity Scene display was again underwritten by the Chicago-based Thomas More Society. Co-sponsors for 2009 were Isringhausen Imports of Springfield www.isringhausen.com; the Illinois Family Institute www.illinoisfamily.org and Business Men In Christ www.businessmeninChrist.com.
"The SNSC is looking for businesses, organizations and/or private citizens who would be interested in co-sponsoring this year's event," added Zanoza. "In addition, contributions of any size would be a blessing and be used towards paying off some of the bills which still exist from the purchase of the beautiful hand-crafted marble statues and other related costs. The SNSC prays that the Springfield Nativity Scene will stand in the state capitol every Christmas for many years to come."
Those interested in making a donation to the SNSC, can make a check or money order payable to the "Springfield Nativity Scene Committee" and mail it to: Daniel Zanoza, Chairman, SNSC, 904 21st St., # 71, Lincoln, IL 62656. For more information, contact the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Spencer of the Springfield State Journal-Register produced a wonderful video which include highlights from the First Annual Springfield Nativity Scene opening day ceremony in 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCChvKTHS1M
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