New LDS church opens doors for first community event


Scott Turner, KP News

Tami Morgan, of Wauna, has been collecting nativity scenes for much of her life. She will bring several sets to the area’s new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public Nativity Festival in December. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Wauna resident Tami Morgan has been collecting nativity scenes for more than 25 years. She has dozens of different types –– some are one-piece sets, others have as many as 30 pieces. Each one is unique and special to her.

Morgan grew up in a religious family and her mother always decorates the family home for Christmas.

“I just picked up on what my mom does,” Morgan said. “I love Christmas and it’s such a very important, sacred time. And to me, the nativities sort of symbolize the true meaning of Christmas.”

She purchased her first nativity for half price at an after-Christmas sale. Since then she’s collected scenes from all over the world, including Sweden, Peru and Niger.

Some are carved from stone; some are wood. “I have one made of coconut that my son brought me from Mexico and one that my daughter brought me from the Caribbean. I also have a little paper one with Mary and Joseph and a cow that my daughter made for me when she was in preschool,” Morgan said with a smile.

She even has a crocheted nativity scene that’s different from all the others.

Currently, Morgan has her eye on a nativity from Japan. “It has Japanese people in kimonos. I love that each country or culture has its own version of a nativity.

“What that says to me is that Christ’s birth is important all around the world and it doesn’t even really matter what religion you are,” she added.

Many of her 50-plus nativities are carefully stored in boxes during the year. But she always has three or four on display in her home.

“I want people to know when they come into my home that this is a Christ-filled home,” she said.

Several of Morgan’s nativities will be on display during the Nativity Festival Dec. 6, 7 and 8 at the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Peacock Hill in Gig Harbor. The new facility, called a “stake,” is a hub where area wards (congregations) come together for worship, meeting and events.

According to Cheryl Smith, Nativity Festival coordinator, there will likely be about 500 nativities included in the festival.

The church is inviting people throughout the community to bring their own nativities to be included in the festival.

“We just want to make this a wonderful celebration that brings the whole community together. You don’t have to be a church member. Everyone is welcome to participate.

“It’s to celebrate the things that we all share during this very special season,” Smith said.

The festival will also include live music, an angel gallery and special hands-on art making activities for children.

“We’ll have lots of little pieces and materials so kids can make their own little nativities to take home,” Smith said.

The Nativity Festival is the first of many community events the church plans to present.

For information on the festival, visit or call Cheryl Smith at (253) 686-0892.




The Nativity Festival will take place at the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) Dec. 6, 7 and 8 from 1 to 9 p.m. Community members are invited to participate in the choirs and orchestras that will perform during the festival. Anyone who wants to have their personal nativities included in the displays should bring them to the church on Dec. 3. The church is located at 12002 Peacock Hill Road in Gig Harbor. For information, visit or call Cheryl Smith at (253) 686-0892.[/box]