Pastor Neil Allen

Pastor Neil Allen with one of his favorite nativity sets—a scene carved in the 1950s from a single piece of Brazilian walnut by Ecuadoran artist Victor Delatorre.

Hood River Valley Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (HRVCC) is hosting Nativity scenes from around the world—close to 500—in its the fellowship hall. Visitors are welcomed to view this unique collection 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., daily from Thursday, Dec. 5, through Sunday, Dec. 8.

HRVCC is located at 975 Indian Creek Rd. in Hood River.

Neil Allen, a retired pastor with the Christian Church living in Beaverton, began collecting nativity scenes from around the world more than 30 years ago.

Nativities (crèches) depict the birth of Jesus Christ—and from those simple origins comes a world of diversity in which Neil Allen has acquired great expertise.

The traveling Allen Collection, owned by Neil and Nora Allen, has been viewed by more than 30,000 visitors. It has been featured on National Public Radio, by the Associated Press and by local news, TV and radio as well as national publications. Several of his handcrafted sets are from the Holy Land, and some of them have been featured in national exhibits.

Allen’s entire collection of nativity scenes—numbering somewhere close to 500—will be on display. Allen will be present throughout to greet guests and answer questions.

“Pastor Allen is bringing an extraordinary opportunity to each of us here in the Gorge,” said Alicia Speidel, pastor of HRVCC.

His collection features several sets from San Antonio, Ibarra, Equador—a carving community established by the Spanish in 1525 to create art for local churchesm Speidel noted. Each nativity scene in the collection holds its own story, and we are so fortunate he is bringing them here. All are welcome to come and enjoy his amazing collection and share in his journey.”

Allen is webmaster for “Friends of the Creche”—the only national collectors’ association in the U.S. and Canada, and he serves on the board. The Allens also manage the “Nativity Collections” Facebook page.

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