Testimony of Doris Fowler
The Nativity on the Square became a reality in 1996 at the hands of Doris Fowler, a wife, mother, and fearless lover of Jesus who took on the city of Marietta’s elected officials after being told it was against the law to include Christ in a public capacity during Christmas. After many meetings, late nights at City Hall, countless prayers and donations given from people who believe in religious freedom, an annual Christ-centered celebration was born. Since then, the Marietta Square Nativity has only grown and we have seen the love of Christ spread throughout the city of Marietta like wildfire.
We believe religious freedom is not something to take lightly. Our country has given us the ability to stand firm in what we believe and take action when we think something isn’t right. We have the ability to act upon our wildest dreams and largest convictions which most others in the world cannot say. The Marietta Square Nativity is nothing short of this- a gathering of people who believe Christ’s birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas and who want to share His love publicly. What a joy to be able to do so!
The Nativity is a three-night event held in December of each year, in the heart of the Marietta Square where churches from the surrounding area come to worship – giving their time and talents to praise His name. In order for this to be a reality each year there are significant costs involved. Rental space in the square, fees to the City of Marietta, security, sound equipment, refreshments, flyers and marketing are just some of the costs incurred. Each year we try to get ahead for the next so that the tradition can carry on- this is why your donations are so important to us! The Marietta Square Nativity is a complete non-for-profit working off a strict volunteer basis. If you feel led, please consider giving what you can to the cause. Your donations are tax-deductible and any amount helps tremendously. If you are not led to donate, please support us in prayer. We have seen lives changed because of this ministry and believe in it with our whole hearts.
"Christmas 1993; my family and I attended my granddaughter, Michele’s choir special on the Marietta Square. The joy of expecting to hear songs celebrating the birth of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas was gone. Not one song or word was uttered in His name. Upon questioning the choir director I was told that it was against the law. In disbelief I looked around the park for a Nativity scene and there wasn’t one. All of my life growing up in this county, there had always been a Nativity during Christmas. We left the park that night in disbelief with heavy hearts.
In January 1994, one month later, I received a newsletter from the “American Center for Law and Justice” and there was an article concerning our rights as Christians, according to the law, to have a Nativity in the public parks. It was as if God was saying to me, “There is your answer to prayer, now take advantage of it”. From that time on He would never set me free from the task, regardless of all the frustrations or time it took.
The next year, in 1994, I made copies of the ACLJ’s Nativity legal rights and took copies to the Mayor, City Council, and the head of Parks and Recreation. I made phone calls and had meetings with other people as well. By Christmas time, I had gotten nowhere and then was told I would have to sue the city of Marietta. Meanwhile Santa Claus was on the Marietta Square the month of December.
In 1995 the ACLJ continued to encourage me to keep at it. When I realized I didn’t have a Nativity if granted the right to have one in the park, God took care of this problem. The first place I called not only had a nativity, but to my surprise, it was the original one that had been on the Square all the previous years. It had not been on display for over twelve years. Now it could hopefully go back on the Square with all its new paint and restoration. What a wonderful discovery!
The remainder of 1995, I spent time on the phone, meeting with city officials and pastors and was still told that I would have to sue the city. To give up would have been very easy to do.
The week before school started, I took my granddaughter with me to City Hall for what I thought was to be the last effort before a lawsuit. I’ve never sued anyone and I was sick of the thought of it. During the second meeting, by standing firm and not giving in to compromise, God did his miracle and the opposition stopped. I was informed that during the last two years, the rules had been changed to the park. With a half million-dollar insurance policy and a sixty-day notice for approval we could set up a nativity for three days. Another miracle, by the time all of this had been done, on the day that I walked into the Parks and Recreation office it was exactly sixty days to the date of the deadline. The responsibility lifted and there was a freedom that I hadn’t felt for a long time. The Marietta Square would honor Jesus again on the Marietta Square!
In January 1996 I received a letter that the Nativity I had borrowed could not be used again so God had another plan.
During 1996, meetings and time were spent trying to get the churches and the Christian community involved to keep the Nativity on the Square, as older individuals we will eventually be gone. Finally, October 1996 a break came, but God really had to do a fast miracle because the sixty-day deadline was only two weeks away. I was speaking at a pastors’ meeting and one pastor caught the vision. God released me and peace came.
Since that time God has blessed us beyond anything that I had ever hoped for. The Nativity on the Square is a work of art by Fontanini. Donations from many Christians have made this possible. Now we have choirs and individuals coming during the three days, singing about our precious Lord Jesus. The freedom is won back and what a blessing to others as they visit our park to see and hear the true meaning of Christmas.
People in public office are not to be feared. We elect and pay them so we are responsible as to who makes the laws that govern us. “All it takes for evil to prosper is for Gods people to do nothing (Edmund Burke)”. Let your voice be heard and vote.
My granddaughter is seeing and experiencing the right to take a stand for freedom and to be a lady with Christian principals and not to yield to compromise. God can use anyone; all it takes is a willing spirit and a heart to do His will.
We now have a committee of pastors and Christian lay persons to carry on this freedom and work. I want to thank each one involved and ask God’s richest blessings on them and those that follow with this work in the years to come. Pray for more than three days to be allowed in the park. This would be a wonderful blessing."