Friends of the Creche
 Washington D.C. Convention 2023
December 6-8, 2023
"Joy to All People"
THE CONVENTION IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE PUT ON A WAITING LIST, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO:  [email protected].



Come to Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, for the Friends of the Creche 2023 Convention. Official events start Wednesday (December 6th) at 6:30 pm and run through Friday evening. We suggest that you arrive a day early or extend through the weekend so you can enjoy the many beautiful and historic sights the area has to offer. The convention will be based at the historic Mayflower Hotel in the heart of Washington, D.C., less than half-a-mile from the White House. Luxury buses will transport us to creche collections at the Washington National Cathedral, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, and the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition we will be visiting the Museum of the Bible and the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We will kick off our convention with a "Monuments by Moonlight" tour of the most notable buildings and monuments in D.C. Hear from specialists on nativity topics and shop with creche vendors.

Registration: Registration is open from February 1 - November 1, 2023. The conference will be limited to 150 participants.  Conference registration is $395 per person and the fee includes: tour bus transportation for all convention activities, lunch (Thursday and Friday), dinner (Thursday and Friday), admission fees (Washington National Cathedral and Museum of the Bible), conference materials, and souvenir ornament. Attendees must be a member of Friends of the Creche to register. To pay for membership, go to www.friendsofthecreche.org.

Accommodations: Rooms have been reserved at the conference site, The Mayflower Hotel at a group rate of $219 per night. Taxes are additional. Rooms at this rate can be reserved from Tuesday December 5th through checkout on December 9th. Check-in time is 4 pm and checkout is at noon. You must be registered for the conference to reserve a room. If you are able, we recommend that you arrive on December 5th to allow for any delays in travel and extra time to enjoy the many free museums in D.C.

Cancellation Policy: Rooms at the Mayflower can be cancelled up to 72 hours prior to your arrival. Cancellations made within 72 hours of arrival will have a cancellation fee. Conference Registration fees are not refundable after October 15, 2023, but are transferable to a new attendee. Transfers are the responsibility of the buyer.

Washington D.C. Nativity Art:  The custom artwork above was designed by D.C. local Cris Logan.  You will have the option of purchasing an 8x10 limited edition signed print for $35 when you pay for registration.
Location
The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036
Date
December 6-8, 2023
SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 6
8:00 AM
Optional Activities
Please see some holiday favorites from members of the convention committee below.  You can also visit www.washington.org for a guide book and additional ideas.
1-5:00 pm
Registration
Check-in at the hotel does not start until 4 pm, however, registration will be open from 1-5 pm.  Early arrivals can leave their luggage with the bellman.  There's a gathering area on the floor above the lobby where you can mingle with old friends and meet some new.
5:30 pM
Monuments by Moonlight Tour
Our convention will officially open with a Monuments by Moonlight tour.  Seeing Washington D.C. after dark can be a magical experience.  The city comes alive with twinkling lights and the monuments and landmarks that you may have visited during the day take on a whole new character under the cover of darkness.  The National Mall is especially stunning at night with the iconic Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial standing tall and illuminated.  We will be stopping at the Pathway of Peace where stands the national Christmas Tree surrounded by 56 decorated Christmas trees from each U.S. state, territory, and Washington, D.C.  This is a must-do for anyone who wants to experience the city in a new and exciting way.



Thursday, December 7
Breakfast
Enjoy the many breakfast spots within easy walking distance from the hotel.
8:30 AM-Noon
General Meeting and Guest Speakers
Our president, Sydne Yanko-Jongbloed will address the membership followed by inspiring presentations from Jem Sullivan, Father Grenier and Lori Amos.
12:30 pm
Lunch
Board the bus for the Franciscan Monastery and enjoy a box lunch provided by Cosi Catering.  
1-4:45 pm
Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land of America
Discover the beauty and spirituality of the Holy Land right here in America at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land of America.  This stunning monastery is home to replicas of some of the most important sites in the Holy Land, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Mount of Olives.  You will also view their annual nativity exhibit.  These beautifully crafted nativities come from all over the world and showcase the diversity and creativity of the Christmas Story.   
1-4:45 pm
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The Basilica is the largest Catholic Church building in North America and one of the largest in the world. Here you will see the Incarnation Dome Nativity and the Nativity Mosaic-Epiphany in the Great Upper Church.  The Basilica has an extensive gift shop with a large variety of nativities.  

5:30-6:20 pm
Dinner
Our buses will stop at a chapel in Kensington where we will have a quick catered Mexican meal prior to attending the Festival of Lights.
6:30-8:30 pm
Festival of Lights, Washington, DC Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Festival of Lights, at the Washington D.C. Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is one of D.C.'s great community traditions.  We will enjoy a live musical performance in the visitor center's comfortable state-of-the-art theater, an extensive international nativity collection, and over 400,000 lights.


Friday, December 8
9:15 AM
Board Buses

Breakfast will be on your own. Buses will arrive at 9:15 and will promptly leave at 9:30.
10:00 AM
Washington National Cathedral

The National Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and a beloved national landmark.  For 29 years, the Cathedral’s extensive collection of nativity scenes has delighted visitors of all ages as they tell the story of that first Christmas through the lens of cultures from around the world.
12:00 pm
Board Buses and Lunch

After visiting the Washington National Cathedral you will enjoy a box lunch from Potbelly's while traveling to the Museum of the Bible.
12:30-3:30 pm
Museum of the Bible and/or The National Gallery of Art

Our buses will be stopping at  the Museum of the Bible .  Members can experience the rich history and cultural significance of the Bible at the Museum of the Bible.  With interactive displays, this museum offers something for everyone.  Don't miss the opportunity to delve deeper into the world's most influential book. We will visit two special exhibits:  "Bethlehem Reborn:  The Wonder of the Church of the Nativity" and "Christmas in Malta:  Winners of the 2023 Nativity Crib Competition.  Their gift store has a lovely array of nativities for sale and our conference attendees can get 10% off one nativity with their ticket.

The Museum of the Bible is a .5 mile walk from the National Gallery of Art.  You may choose to split your time there and view the nativity art on display.  Buses will pick up members at both locations to take you back to the hotel.
6:00 pm
Friends of the Creche Banquet

Join us for an evening of inspiration, friendship and holiday cheer at the Friends of the Creche banquet at the Mayflower Hotel.  Our guest speakers, Lori and Chip Amos, will enlighten and entertain us with a presentation on Carols and Creches.  There will be a Silent Auction as well as a raffle that will support The Friends of the Creche. This special event is a perfect opportunity to come together as friends to celebrate the spirit of the season at the conclusion of our convention. 
Saturday, December 9
12:00 pm
Check-Out

Bonvoy members may be eligible for late check-out.  You can check your luggage with the hotel bellmen if you have an evening departure time.  Extend your stay and enjoy this great city! 
Speakers
Lori Amos:  In 1990, Washington National Cathedral was looking for ways to attract more visitors during the Christmas holiday season when Mrs. Beulah Sommer, a Cathedral friend and docent, came forward with an offer to share creches from her personal collection for a new exhibit of "Nativity Scenes from Around the World." As the newly hired program assistant for the Department of Visitor Programs, Lori Amos was given the assignment to help the Cathedral's curatorial team set up the exhibit (mostly by carrying boxes) and to help research and write the gallery guide for the exhibit. While she had grown up with "typical" creches at home and at her church, it came as a revelation to discover the incredible variety of cultures, styles, and materials in Mrs. Sommer's collection. The exhibit team was tasked to use the creches to portray Christ's birth in ways that were relevant and relatable to people from around the world. From the beginning, the exhibit proved popular, not only with visiting families, but school, social and bus groups as well. Seeing that the Cathedral had the beginnings of a yearly tradition, Mrs. Sommer graciously loaned her collection each year, where it became the centerpiece of the Cathedral's new exhibit program. In 1998, Mrs. Sommer made the extraordinary gift of the bulk of her collection, over 600 sets, to the Cathedral, so that they could continue to be shared with the community who had come to love them. Over the years, Mrs. Amos' responsibilities for both the collection and its display increased and for the past 25 years, she has, as a volunteer, been largely responsible for planning and implementing the Cathedral's creche exhibit. She has responsibilities in building, caring for and curating what is now the Cathedral's permanent creche collection. With her husband, Chip, who serves as the Cathedral exhibit's Technical Director, they also have an extensive creche collection of their own, which they share as part of the Cathedral exhibit.

 Jem Sullivan: Dr. Jem Sullivan is a wife and mother, educator and author, who holds a doctorate from The Catholic University of America. At present, Dr. Sullivan serves as professor of Catechetics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America. She is the author of four books and writes for a variety of Catholic publications on faith and culture, including art essays in Magnificat and a syndicated Scripture column for Catholic News Service. Jem is the host of a podcast “Echoing Faith Today,” dedicated to conversations around contemporary catechetical issues. In the past, she served as a volunteer docent at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., leading tours of the museum’s masterpiece collections.

Father David Grenier, OPM:  Originally from Canada, Fr. David joined the Franciscans of the Holy Land in 2007. After completing his studies for priesthood, he was appointed as Director of the Magnificat Music School, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, that brings together through music Christians, Jews and Muslims. For three years, starting in 2016, he was Secretary of the Holy Land, helping the Custos of the Holy Land supervising the different activities that the Franciscans have in the region. Fr. David was transferred in 2019 to the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Washington, where he is now Commissary of the Holy Land, vicar for the Franciscan community, Vocational Animator for U.S. and Canada and editor of the Holy Land Review.
Lori Amos
washington national cathedral creche curator
"Carols and Creches"
"History of the Creche at the Washington National Cathedral"
Jem Sullivan
Associate professor, catholic university, author
"Nativity Art in the National Gallery"
Father David Grenier, OPM
Franciscan Monastery of the holy land of america
"800th Anniversary of First Nativity Reenactment by Saint Francis of Assisi"
Optional Activities for Extended Stays
Private Creche Displays
There may be several Washington, D.C. homes with private nativities open for tour.  One that definitely will be is that of Laura Kirkconnell, who lives in Arlington, VA.  Please plan to arrive early or extend your stay after the convention if you'd like to tour these homes.

Downtown Holiday Market
The beloved outdoor market continues to support small businesses and entrepreneurs across the region, welcoming shoppers for a safe, secure and enhanced shopping experience in the heart of the District this year.  The market is open from noon to 8 pm and is located in front of the National Portrait Gallery and takes over two entire blocks of F Street NW, from 7th to 9th Streets NW.  You can find Guatemalan nativities at the KVZ Designs booth and high quality Peruvian nativities at Toro Mata.

Hop On/Hop Off Tour Buses
Enjoy pre-recorded narration and stop at all the major landmarks on D.C.'s hop on/hop off tour buses.  You can choose where you'd like to disembark and spend your time, or simply travel the entire loop.  The routes include the Smithsonian Museums, war memorials, Arlington Cemetery, and other major points of interest.  Two suggested companies are www.bigbustours.com, or www.trolleytours.com. You can purchase one or two day tickets (days do not need to be consecutive).

Historic Annapolis
Annapolis is consistently ranked one of the best cities in America to visit during the holiday season.  Don't miss the spectacular holiday lights show beside the Chesapeake Bay, the Holiday Candlelight Stroll, the Jolly Express Cruise, or the Midnight Madness Holiday Shopping.  Annapolis is 32 miles from the Mayflower Hotel.

Mt. Vernon at Christmas
Visit Mt. Vernon by candlelight and learn about 18th century holiday traditions in Virginia.  You'll be delighted by the fresh gingerbread, winter crafts, holiday shopping and food.  Mount Vernon is 28 miles from the Mayflower Hotel.

Smithsonian Museums
When you visit the Smithsonian, you’re entering the world’s largest museum complex, with approximately 155 million artifacts and specimens in its trust for the American people.  The Smithsonian’s collection of knowledge centers serve as a treasure chest for visitors and a guide to the most fascinating aspects of our world. And the best part? You won’t have to pay a penny to experience it as admission is free at every Smithsonian museum.  For a complete list of museums and galleries, visit www.washington.org/smithsonian.

Christmas Village in Baltimore
Just over an hour from D.C., Christmas Village in Baltimore is a combination of an outdoor and indoor holiday market at West Shore Park at the Inner Harbor. The event is modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany, like the famous Christkindl Market in Nuremberg.  Vendors in wooden booths will sell traditional European food, sweets and drinks. You will also find great shopping opportunities with a large variety of international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry as well as high-quality arts and crafts.

Event Video
Take a sneak peek at a few of the highlights of our 2023 National Convention.
PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION

PRICES AND ROUTES RECEIVED THEIR FINAL UPDATE ON OCTOBER 9TH, 2023


FROM DULLES AIRPORT:
Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located in suburban Virginia, approximately 28 miles from the Mayflower in downtown DC.

The latest available estimate (as of October 2023) of taxi fare is $63-$71, not including tip. (Please note that this is the fare on the taxi provider’s website, and we have confirmed it by phone. This strikes us locals as being unexpectedly low, and your fare may well be a bit higher.)

There is a dedicated pick- up area for those using ride-sharing apps (eg Uber, Lyft) outside Doors 2,4 and 6 on the Baggage Claim Level.

For those wishing to use public transportation: Washington Metrorail’s Silver Line train now serves Dulles International Airport. Please follow signs to the indoor pedestrian tunnel leading to the Metrorail station, approximately a 7 minute walk. Take the Silver Line train in the direction of Largo to the Farragut West Metro stop, a ride of approximately 50 minutes. Peak fare is $6.00, on top of a mandatory purchase fee of $2.00 for the reusable SmarTrip card. From the Farragut West Metro station, it is a walk of approximately .3 miles to the hotel.

FROM REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT:
Reagan National Airport (DCA) is located in nearby Arlington, VA, approximately 4.3 miles from the Mayflower in downtown DC.

The latest available taxi fare estimate (as of October 2023) is $25, not including tip.

There are dedicated pick-up areas at the outer curbs of each terminal for those using ride-sharing apps (eg Uber, Lyft.) They are marked by green flags.

For those wishing to use public transportation: The Reagan National Airport Metrorail Station is accessible via an enclosed walk of approximately 10 minutes. Travelers may take a BLUE LINE (Note that Yellow Line trains also run along the same tracks – but Blue Line is best for travel to the Mayflower) train in the direction of Largo. Exit at Farragut West station after a ride of approximately 16 minutes, then walk approximately .3 miles to the hotel. Peak Fare is $2.65, on top of a mandatory purchase fee of $2.00 for the reusable SmarTrip card. From the Farragut West Metro station, it is a walk of approximately .3 miles to the hotel.




FROM UNION STATION, WASHINGTON DC:
Union Station, with Amtrak/MARC service, is in northeast DC, approximately 2.5 miles from the Mayflower. There is a taxi rank in front of the main entrance to the station. Those using ride-share apps (eg Uber, Lyft) are requested to use the “Kiss and Ride” and Cell Phone Waiting Areas on the Bus Deck Level. Taxi fare to the Mayflower is estimated at $13, not including tip.

For those wishing to use public transportation, there is direct access to the Washington Metrorail system from the main passenger level of Union Station. Take the Red Line train in the direction of Shady Grove for approximately 8 minutes. Exit at Farragut North station, then walk approximately .2 miles to the hotel) Peak fare is $2.00, on top of a mandatory purchase fee of $2.00 for the reusable SmarTrip card.

THURGOOD MARSHALL BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Thurgood Marshall Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) is located in suburban Maryland approximately 31 miles from the Mayflower. Taxis are located near doors 5 and 13 on the lower level, and estimated fare is $90. Ride-share pickups (eg Uber, Lyft) are done at the taxicab curbs on the Upper (Departure) Level.
For those wishing to use public transportation, there is a free shuttle from the airport’s lower level to the BWI Amtrak/MARC station, from which there is scheduled train service south to Union Station in Washington DC. (See section below on Union Station for further information.)
See immediately below for links to Amtrak/MARC schedules.
https://www.mta.maryland.gov/schedule/timetable/marc-penn
https://www.amtrak.com/train-schedules-timetables

PARKING AT THE HOTEL:
The Hotel charges $45 per night for parking. There is no need for a car during the conference. If you are driving, consider making prior reservations at websites such as www.spothero.com or bestparking.com. Once you have arrived at the hotel you will not need transportation during the day.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS
Make Your reservations at the Mayflower Hotel with our special Group Rate of $219 per room.  Taxes are additional.  You must be registered for the conference to make a  reservation.
HOTEL RESERVATIONS
Make Your reservations at the Mayflower Hotel with our special Group Rate of $219 per room.  Taxes are additional.  You must be registered for the conference to make a  reservation.  You will not be charged for the room on your credit card until you have checked in.  We only have the group rate for four nights - December 5-8.  If you try to add additional nights, it will not allow you to make the reservation.  Anyone extending their stay beyond those 4 nights will have to make a separate reservation.  To make a reservation, click on the tab below.

NATIVITY MARKET
We are looking for nativities that need a new home. If you would like to donate a creche for our Nativity Market, Silent Auction or Raffle, please indicate in the form questions when completing your registration.  You will be contacted by a member of the convention committee.  All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Creche activities.
SILENT AUCTION
We are looking for nativities that need a new home. If you would like to donate a creche for our Silent Auction, please indicate in the form questions when completing your registration.  You will be contacted by a member of the convention committee.  All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Creche activities.
 Join us on December 06 
REGISTRATION OPEN UNTIL NOVEMBER 1, 2023
PAYMENT INFORMATION


There are two choices for payment method at check-out. You may use a credit card, which will incur a 2.9% plus .30 cent convenience fee; OR you may use the drop-down arrows to select "Pay By Check". Checks should immediately be sent to Toni Conway at 3242 S. Carpenter Rd., Modesto, CA. 95358.

If you choose to use a credit card, it will be processed by Stripe. Stripe has been audited by a PCI-certified auditor and is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1. This is the most stringent level of certification available in the payments industry. To accomplish this, they use the best-in-class security tools and practices to maintain a high level of security.
Who's Coming
Contact Us
We will try to respond to emails within 48 hours.  For urgent needs or help registering, please call Shelly Crespo of 309-413-6005.
Location
The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20036

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