Hundreds of worshipers streamed out of the Zion Church sanctuary following the 11 a.m. service Sunday and surrounded the “live” Nativity scene in the lobby.

A towering one-humped camel, a chocolate-colored alpaca with mop-top hair, a black cow, a pair of goats and a spotted pony were in the background of the Nativity scene.

The Zion worshipers at the nondenominational Christian church looked like contemporary America, with people originally from Mexico, Laos, the Philippines, Ethiopia and Lebanon as well as third-generation Oakland County families.

Many converged on the makeshift Nativity scene, ignoring the unusual pungent smell and reveling in the occasional bray of the camel, which echoed amid the cavernous hallways of Zion.

Camera phones were in position as smiling children touched and talked to the animals, which were provided by the Wilderness Zoo in Frankenmuth.

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The main pastor, Jared Wizner, wore a black motorcycle jacket and dark jeans as he preached the gospel of Luke 2:1-20 — the birth of Jesus.

Above him were three large television screens that provided a real-time image of the service to those in the hallway and a livestream feed on Zion’s website.

For all its modernity and casualness, first-time attendee Carlo Flores said he also loved the live Nativity scene.

“So many things are fun here,” said Flores, who emigrated from the Philippines. “I have been in United States and Detroit area for 27 years. I am grateful.

“My family is safe, warm and my children are getting a good education,” said Flores. “So much makes me appreciate Christmas.”

Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN

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