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

Just Posted

Surrey shootings ends city’s hiatus from violence since outset of pandemic

So far this year there have been 24 shootings in Surrey. There were 45 in 2019

South Surrey banner drop marks Global Day of Action

Fridays for Future effort targeted four city overpasses

Delta police launch drone program

Drones can fly day or night in a variety of weather to help Delta police and firefighters

UPDATE: NDP asks Elections BC to investigate Liberal voter fraud allegations in Surrey-Fleetwood

Liberal MLA candidate for Surrey-Fleetwood Garry Thind issued a written statement Wednesday afternoon

TB Vets funding new respiratory equipment for critically ill patients at Delta Hospital

$19,000 gift to buy a glidescope needed for intubating patients in cardiac or respiratory arrest

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Long-term care study credits fewer COVID deaths in B.C. than Ont. to funding, policy

The study was published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

Most Read