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A PowerPoint Christmas
By LISA BRITTON
Of the Baker City Herald
It's not the typical tale of Mary and Joseph.
There are angels in polka-dot gowns.
Wooly sheep that look more like dogs.
Baby Jesus snug in his manger that stands on stilts.
This is the Christmas story told through the drawings of children who belong to Kids Club at First Lutheran Church.
And, it's high-tech, animated with the PowerPoint computer program.
Earlier this fall, members of Kids Club were divided up and each group was given a different scene to draw.
"I was drawing two people I forget what their names are who were trying to find a place for Jesus to be born," said Courtney Nees, 8.
"I drew an angel. It has wings and it has that circle thingy on the top. It was white," said Val Whitnah, 9.
Parts of the drawings were then pieced together for 17 scenes incorporating bits from everyone's works of art and animated with the computer program.
Even after months of participating in the project, the children couldn't quite grasp the concept before they saw the final product.
"They're really confused right now," laughs Judy Folkman, one of the Kids Club teachers.
Folkman was the one who suggested this approach for the Lutheran Church's annual Christmas program after hearing about it on a Portland news station last December.
"Once I figured out how they did it, I thought, we can do this," she said. "The first thing we had to do was have the children draw the pictures."
This was a bit of challenge, she said. The children who attend Kids Club range in age from kindergartners to sixth-graders.
"Some of those little ones really didn't know how to draw an angel," Folkman said.
Once the sketches were complete, Susan Frantum combined elements from each picture to create the animated program.
"One we really love we have a shepherd, then another shepherd comes in with grass under his feet," Folkman said.
The individuality of the drawings are what make this project unique, she said.
"That's the way kids draw their personality comes out. The angels aren't all white with halos. That's what makes it so special," Folkman said.
The animated program is accompanied by recorded Christmas songs performed by the children and narration by several adults.
The finished product will be presented this Sunday at First Lutheran Church at 11 a.m., and can be seen Tuesday on Channel 3 at 10:30 a.m.
The advantage of this project is that the children don't have to be present on Sunday to be part of the Christmas program, Folkman said.
"It's great because Kids Club is an outreach so many of our kids don't belong to the church," she said. "Our main thing is that we could involve the kids but they didn't have to here physically."