This year, as a community, we tried something new for our annual Bannerman Christmas Event. We asked ourselves: “How can we foster an environment of interactivity with our neighbours, and share the story of Christmas in an effective way?” The resulting idea was “Discover Christmas.”
The best description of the event I have heard came from one of our Management Elders, Kevin Van Popta who called it “a progressive dinner theatre.” People enjoyed a meal in several stages as they moved from station to station hearing the narrative of that Holy Night from the perspectives of the wise men, the Roman soldiers, the shepherds, and the holy family themselves. Our Bethel actors met the Monday before to practice and took their roles very seriously! Hearing the wise men describe prophecies that were spoken hundreds of years before Christ was born was a highlight for me! In addition to acting, each station had festive foods, and crafts for kids (which included Christmas ornaments and family portraits at the manger).
Anytime you take a step of faith into the unknown it can feel like a bit of a risk. We wondered: “Will anyone come?” and “How will people respond to a new format?”
I am happy to report that many people came and they enjoyed interacting with the Christmas Story! Our census station counted 133 people who came and enjoyed the festivities (and this number does not even include the Bethelites who took part running the event!). One family noted that they loved the new format because not only were they fed a meal, but they were also able to engage with the Story of Christmas. How affirming of our call to not only feed the body, but also the spirit.
A big thank you goes out to everyone who brought food, played a character, or helped in any way to make the event a big success. It is exciting to be part of a church that is enthusiastic to serve and present the Gospel in a creative way to its neighbours!
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