Contributed photo The Journey of Christmas display tradition returns at St. Mark’s, Ocean Park.

Journeying back to the first Christmas

Journeying back to the first Christmas

It doesn’t take long to see – about 22 minutes – but The Journey of Christmas at St. Mark’s, Ocean Park is one display that will make the whole family think about the scriptural story at the heart of the seasonal celebration.

“This Christmas treat has put Christ first in its celebration of the Christmas season,” said long-time organizer and publicity person Brian Walks

A bracing winter walk in the woods behind the church takes participants past nine separate diorama theatres featuring scenes from the ‘first Christmas’ – including mannequins representing the shepherds, the angels, Simeon, the three kings, and, of course, the manger scene.

For some it’s an enduring tradition, while for first-time viewers – particularly the young – it’s an imagination-fueling reminder of core precepts of the Christian faith, and their relevance in today’s world.

It’s also a very community way to celebrate, followed by good fellowship and entertainment over cookies and a cup of hot chocolate in the church hall.

Now in its 19th season, the Journey of Christmas is a volunteer event that has seen an average of 1,000 visits each year, and organizers also pride themselves on the accompanying “arts showcase” of local entertainers who enjoy coming out and adding to the celebration.

This year’s lineup is no exception, Walks said.

First entertainers this year are the youthful voices of the Boy Scouts tonight (Friday), followed on Saturday by a contingent of singers from the erstwhile Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society (now known as FVGSS, a Musical Theatre Company) and, on Sunday by well-known husband and wife team of tenor Chris Simmons and soprano Debra Da Vaughn.

“There’s about 20 of the (FVGSS) singers – they love coming out on a Saturday and singing carols and some of their show tunes and there’s a lot of audience participation,” Walks said.

Also coming up are the Domaren Recorder Consort (Dec. 18), the Langley Ukulele Association (Dec. 19), former White Rock Children’s Choir singers and instrumentalists Ashley, Cierra and Jordon Van Ness (Dec. 20), St. Mark’s own choir, directed by Emily Worden-Kwok (Dec. 21), Rwandan-Canadian singers Florence & Rosemary (Dec. 22), and choir pianist Cecilia Wong & Friends (Dec. 23).

“The Domaren Consort, from Tsawwassen, have been with us before – they raise the level of recorder music way above what we might recall from school,” Walks said.

“And the Langley Ukulele Association, new to the event, are just amazing – this group will be nine to 12 year-olds who have great musical talent, both singing and playing the ukulele – while Florence & Rosemary, who perform as their gift of thanks to Canada, are very lively singers of Rwandan and African songs and also have some Christmas music in their repertoire.”

The by-donation display is open Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m., and from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the church, 12953 20 Ave.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Cloverdale students make puzzles for care home residents

Students from Cloverdale’s Sunrise Ridge delivered gifts to seniors and thank you notes to first responders

COLUMN: Timing just right for raising minimum wage

Raising minimum wage will protect human life and reduce poverty, writes Garber Black

Proposed White Rock waterfront zoning questioned by residents

Group says approval will create a precedent of increased height on West Beach

New goalkeeper training centre opens in Cloverdale

Nestled on Surrey-Langley border, facility offers full range of training programs

Easter Seals drop zone returning to Surrey as ‘great no-contact event’

Health and safety a ‘top priority’ for annual event

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Police arsenal deployed to avoid potentially violent situation: Mounties

Langley RCMP arrest armed Vancouver man after Tasering him on side street

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway

President Donald Trump said the jobs report shows the economy is “roaring back”

Most Read