Ellwood City borough workers began setting up holiday decorations on the front lawn of the Municipal Building on Friday; yet, one display was missing – the Nativity Scene.
Because of a threatened lawsuit by the atheist group “Freedom From Religion Foundation” of Madison, Wis., the Nativity Scene will be off borough property for the first time in over 50 years. Instead, a Santa Claus and snowman decorate the spot formerly reserved for the religious display.
But, with the help of Ellwood City attorney Joseph Bellissimo, a new nativity will be erected a few blocks away from its former spot. Bellissimo, owner of the former St. Agatha Church on Fifth Street, is helping to start a new tradition for borough residents.
According to Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court, on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m., Bellissimo will officially unveil the new Nativity Scene in the front lawn of the former church.
“I still believe the Nativity should be at the Municipal Building, but I’m happy with the new spot,” said Court. Mayor Court was very vocal last year during the controversy surrounding the Nativity and the atheist group from Wisconsin.
The Mayor also said that he will be helping to create signs that will say, “Ellwood City is a Nativity Scene,” in support of Ellwood’s new Nativity Scene. He said they will be on a first-come, first served basis.