Ceramic collection still expanding for Warriors Mark pastor

For more than 25 years, Rev. Peggy J. Bonsell, pastor of the United Methodist Church in Warriors Mark, has been collecting ceramic figurines to add to her Christmas collection.
The collection has grown so large that it can no longer be displayed in her Bellwood home. This year, the display was set up in the UM Church.
“Three-fourths of all the items either light up, play music, sing or move in some way,” said Bonsell. “There are four water fountains of one kind or another that are part of the full display, along with a train. The train wasn’t put out this year for lack of room.”
And the display does take up some room.
According to Bonsell, the display measures about 40 feet long. She said it took her more than 15 hours to set up the display this year.
The village has been on display at the church since Nov. 29 and will continue to be on display until after the church’s regular Friday night dinner scheduled for this week.
“This is something that people used to come to our home to see each year, but, it has grown so much it isn’t possible to display the village at home anymore,” she said.
Bonsell said she began her collection when her older son Ken, who is now 29, was just a toddler. Her younger son, 24-year-old Adam, helped her set up the display for many years.
She also said her husband, Gary, each year has added to her collection as one of her Christmas gifts. She said he brought her two new pieces to add this year, along with a church that the congregation gave her for her birthday this year.
“The children’s eyes, as well as adults’, light up when they see the number of pieces that are part of this set-up,” she said. “I have been asked many times if I had a favorite piece or two. Probably the lit church, one of the water falls and the wheel mill with the barn.
“But probably my favorite is the carousel that as music plays, the horses move up and down,” she continued.
“The real joy is having a place to share the village with others.”
In addition to the large ceramic village, the church also opened a new program to the congregation this year, asking them to construct smaller Christmas trees to help decorate the church.
Bonsell said this was the first year the church sponsored a program like this. She said she asked families to design their trees based on an “Old Fashioned Christmas” theme.
“We wanted the families to make trees that didn’t have any lights and wanted them to incorporate ornaments with special meanings to them.
Bonsell said there were about 15 families who participated this year and hopes that interest grows for next year.