Drive-in theatre; first patented in 1933, the clever creation means people can enjoy cinema from the comfort of their own car. Well one of our churches, Caringbah Baptist Church (CBC), took this beloved structure to a whole new level last year with their ‘Drive-In Christmas’! With the government concerned about COVID-19 circulating over the holiday period, restricted numbers, social distancing, and the elimination of singing forced churches to come up with new ways to present the message of hope and joy that Jesus’ birth brought. Jill Hubbard has directed a Community Christmas Concert at CBC every December for the past 45 years. She says: “The Christmas Concert is almost part of my DNA, and so many people in the church are part of it. When it looked like it wasn’t going to happen in 2020, I actually felt really sad!”
But as she stood in her church’s large carpark, and noticed the high adjacent wall that borders it, God dropped an idea into? her head: A pre-recorded Christmas variety concert projected onto the 6.5m wall, with cars tuning into the audio via an FM channel on their radio, was a covid-friendly way to bless the community after a difficult year.
At a time when isolation was a community challenge, it was also a very uniting thing for CBC as a church – with close to 100 volunteers serving from inception to completion. A church member financed an electronic sign outside of the church advertising the event. Creatives designed invitation cards, volunteered their musical talents and used their skills to film the program. Kids, teens and Senior Pastor Paul Summers told the Christmas story while adults shared their testimonies. Ladies baked special Christmas cookies and prepared fifteen kilos of popcorn to be given out in show bags (along with glowsticks and gospel tracts) as people entered the carpark.
The program was screened over 4 evenings with 2 sessions nightly and a new group of people doing QR-code check-ins and carpark directing. Even the local community embraced the spirit of Christmas, with a popular cafe offering 300 vouchers, and a company sponsoring the projector used at Vivid Sydney, free of charge! Jill says: “Every time I talked to someone, they wanted to get involved. There was a lot of voluntary momentum!”
We thank God for creativity and pray that the Concert would leave a lasting impression on the community. Check out the full program below!