Prayer protest planned outside City Hall in Rehoboth Beach

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Nativity Scene removed from Bandstand in 2018; City of Rehoboth Beach, City Hall

A prayer protest will be held outside City Hall in Rehoboth Beach on Thursday following the city’s refusal to allow a local Catholic Church the right to display a nativity scene at the Bandstand.

The protest will take place outside City Hall this Thursday, November 21 at 2 p.m. led at the direction of Father William Coco of Saint Edmond Catholic Church.

St. Edmond Catholic Church was forced to remove a nativity scene they placed at the Bandstand ahead of the Christmas season last year, sparking sharp criticism of city leaders who again are refusing to allow the church to display the creche.

We will be prayerfully protesting the City of Rehoboth’s refusal to allow the creche to be displayed along with the other Christmas decorations at the bandstand,” Saint Edmond Catholic Church wrote announcing the protest. “How can you have a Christmas celebration without Christ?”

Father Coco spoke out against the city’s decision last year and is continuing to do so this year after news broke of the city’s position last week.

“We weren’t involved in any negotiations this fall,” Father Coco told WGMD’s Rob Petree in an interview last week. “They simply came to us and said it couldn’t go up but according to the City Manager, and I was told by council people, that all of these groups they talked to said they had no problem with the creche being up.”

The City gave Father Coco the option of having the nativity scene displayed outside the Chamber of Commerce on Rehoboth Avenue, blocks and blocks away from the foremost gathering spot of the Bandstand near the beach.

Father Coco said it was suggested that if he “just agreed to it being in front of the Chamber of Commerce, then this could all end.”

“Maybe that’s true, I don’t know,” Father Coco said. “But then I wouldn’t be doing what I believe to be the right thing. Christmas is about the birth of a man named Jesus Christ – that is an undisputed fact – that’s what Christmas is all about.”