The Light of the World torch passes to a new generation and the tradition continues in Minden. It all began sixty-four years ago when Clayton J. Morey and Reverend Arthur W. Johnson were inspired by Minden’s colorful Christmas lights to write, produce, and direct a pageant about the birth of Christ.
On December 8, 1946, thousands of people packed the courthouse square and the surrounding streets of Minden to view for the first time a Christmas pageant entitled The Light of the World. That first year the pageant was presented on the west side of the square with forty-five cast members pantomiming the actions while six men stood inside a small room of the courthouse gathered around a microphone reciting the narration. Because of the large crowd in attendance, the following year the production expanded and was performed simultaneously on all four sides of the square. Although many changes have transpired since that first production, The Light of the World continues.
Clayton remained the director of the pageant, assisted by Harold Pedley, through 1969. In 1967 Ted Griess replaced Harold as Clayton’s assistant, and in 1970 Ted took over as director and served in that capacity through 1983. In 1981, Clayton’s son, Ben Morey, became Ted’s assistant director. In 1984, Ben assumed the directorship of the pageant and continues as director to this day. This year marks thirty years of Ben’s involvement with directing The Light of the World. If one includes Ben’s acting roles in numerous parts of the pageant, he can certainly be credited with even more years.
Next year, in 2011, the tradition continues. Ben’s son and Clayton’s grandson, Matthew Morey will accept the job as pageant director. Matthew has worked with his father for a number of years serving as assistant director. He, too, has played the role of many characters in the pageant over the years.
For more see The Courier