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Live camels, wise men, and King Cake on Epiphany Sunday in Lexington

John Brice, left, Bob Huddleston and Bernie Conrad led camels through the garden and into the cathedral to celebrate the arrival of the Magi during the Epiphany Sunday services at Lexington’s Christ Church Cathedral.
John Brice, left, Bob Huddleston and Bernie Conrad led camels through the garden and into the cathedral to celebrate the arrival of the Magi during the Epiphany Sunday services at Lexington’s Christ Church Cathedral.

There was a little note in the printed program at Lexington’s Christ Church Cathedral Sunday that might have warranted a double take.

It said, “As the camels process, please don’t reach out to touch them.”

A grand procession that included two live camels, church members dressed as the Three Wise Men, and singing was featured at the Epiphany Sunday service at Lexington’s Christ Church Cathedral, an episcopal church.

The Epiphany marks a visit to the baby Jesus by The Magi, also called Three Kings or Wise Men. It is also the official end to the Christmas season for many Christians.

The Rev. Brent Owens, the associate dean of Christ Church Cathedral, said the Epiphany celebration was for the “unveiling of Baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men who journeyed from the east and followed the star and ended up in Bethlehem, where they worshiped the baby Jesus.”

“There was great joy” and they brought offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh, he said.

Some scholars think that the three gifts were chosen for their symbolism — gold representing kingship, frankincense a symbol of a priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of Jesus’ death and embalming, according to biblicalarchaeology.org.

A breakfast including a King’s Cake for the children was served Sunday as part of the celebration. A King’s Cake includes a small plastic baby to represent Jesus; and the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby is thought to have good luck.

Church member Elizabeth Conrad said the camels came from Lost River Game Farm in Orleans, Ind. Church members Bernie Conrad, John Brice and Mason Owens dressed as the kings, she said.

Grayson Pollard, 4, was among the children who got an up close look at the camels before the procession.

“They were big and soft,” said Grayson.

His brother Owen Pollard, 11, had another take: “Their throats were weird.”

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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