It was a balmy summers evening at the gathering of the CAROLS IN THE PARK community event on December 14th 2019. The crowd slowly built up and by the end of the night was estimated to be about 6000 people. This was an amazing number when you consider that this represents about one third of the number of residents who live in North Balwyn! The carols committee, a sub group of the North Balwyn Interchurch Council, had a vision to lift the name of Jesus in their community.
North Balwyn Baptist Church has, for several decades, been the driving force behind this outreach program. As part of the set up on the day there were tents with food, face painting, a prayer tent, a charity tent, an outreach book tent and much more.
The program included soloists, choirs, a nativity scene procession, prayers, Bible readings and a short gospel message by Rev. Graeme Prentice of North Balwyn Baptist Church. The night ended with a fireworks display. There was a fantastic community feel as families of all ages and nationalities mingled, played, sang and worshipped Jesus together.
Some of the highlights included:
- The beautiful cooperation and support of the local Churches in finances, volunteers, comradery, unity and love in Christ. Six different denominations were involved.
- 6000 people represents the biggest crowd in the history of the event.
- The content and atmosphere was design to trumpet the name of Jesus.
- There is no other event throughout the year that brings together so many people from so many walks of life in such a safe and loving environment.
- This year included items from a local Mandarin Church and was indicative of the growing multi cultural nature of the event.
- The outreach book tent reported many wonderful gospel conversations with people from the crowd.
We are so grateful for those who sponsored the event. There was a time early on in the planning that we felt that we may have to cancel for this year. It has grown so much over the years that the burden of planning on a small volunteer group was getting too much. But thanks to the sponsors and renewed support of the local Churches we were able to employ an event planner that made it possible to proceed. We praise God for his provision and for the 1000’s gathered to celebrate the birth of our saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Frank Rosenfeldt (Sec.) and Graeme Prentice (Pres.)
North Balwyn Baptist Church