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'Wise' production mixes cultures

12/23/2013

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

Two cultures collided Sunday night at First Baptist Church of Hays during its Three Kings celebration.

Alex Enriquez, Dale Beams and Roger Herrick dressed as the three wise men from the biblical story of Jesus' birth during the service. The language changed from Spanish to English as approximately 50 attendees sang traditional Christmas songs and children acted one out.

Three Kings' Day is a main holiday in Hispanic culture. It is Jan. 6, but a scheduling issue made the church host it earlier.

"We're doing a lot of traditional stuff that has to do with Hispanic Catholicism," said Lory Herrick, a pastor at the church. "This is not only the language, but the culture. We want to keep the culture alive.

"You want to teach the kids that the main deal is that Jesus is the one being born, and it's his birthday. What can you give Jesus?

Herrick's husband, Roger, dressed as the wise man who presented Jesus with frankincense.

Roger said the costumes made the story more engaging for attendees. Celebrating the tradition for the Hispanic population benefited everyone involved.

"I think it's a good outreach for the community and for the church as well," Rogers said.

Dale Beams, playing the wise man who brought the gift of myrrh, said he participated because of his faith.

"There are a lot of times I would not have made it through life had it not been for Christ. And so any opportunity I have to share, I want to do that," he said.

The program made some attendees feel nostalgic. Laura Pulido, who was translated by Nancy Flores, said it reminded her of home.

"It just brings that warm feeling of your home," Pulido said. "You're not actually home, as in your house, but you're in God's home and you're here sharing. And it brings back memories to have that traditional food here."

Donated toys also were given to families during the meal.