In the last 3 years, the Hawkesbury area (at the fringe of the Sydney metropolitan) has faced traumatic bushfires, floods, and a pandemic. In a typical year, Hanna Park Carols – hosted and organised by Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church (HVBC) – is an extremely popular family-friendly community event in the area. But with the Northern Beaches Covid-19 outbreak so close to Christmas, it couldn’t happen last year. So, after so much disappointment, a team from HVBC decided they needed to do something for the locals this Christmas. “The Hawkesbury Show (like the Easter Show, but in the Hawkesbury) in the first half of this year (pre-Delta) was the biggest show they’ve ever had,” says Linnah Hahn (Missions/Community Ministry Leader at HVBC), “And this incredible response showed that people need and want these large events, and an ability to engage with their community.”

With so much uncertainty around social restrictions so late in the year, there simply hasn’t been enough time for HVBC to plan their usual Hanna Park Carols event; there isn’t enough time for the live bands to practice, the craft to be organised or the volunteers to master Covid-related rules around food handling. But, they didn’t give up! They questioned and pressed into what they could do, and came up with a new hybrid idea. Instead of being an all-day event, they’re going to run a 7:30-9PM livestream on December 19th. It will include recordings from their 2019 carols, giveaways, and a fireworks finale. They’re going to have 3 pop-up sites across North Richmond that will each contain a food truck (that the church will partially pay for), a singer, and a community group presence (such as ‘Mountain of Joy’ – a ministry that have provided food/support to locals in need), and the stream will cutaway to these locations. One of the locations is one of the most brightly-lit streets in town come Christmas, and the church’s Lead Pastor will give a Christmas message whilst walking down it. 

P R A Y / /

  • Pray that the event won’t be affected by any change in vaccination status legislation
  • The vibe of events has changed, with people a little less enthusiastic/more hesitant. But many still want to meet people, connect with their community, and get together with family and friends. Pray that HVBC can provide this opportunity – including for ‘watch parties’ in people’s backyards
  • Each year, Hanna Park Carols aims to balance being a great event with getting the message of Jesus out there – often serving those who don’t want to go through the doors of an actual “church”. Pray that this new event would similarly be a vehicle through which the Holy Spirit can minister to the local community

Interested in joining? You can stay up-to-date with this event on Facebook!

How is your church serving your local community this Christmas?


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