Carols by candlelight…on the beach!

One church in Edinburgh decided to get out of the building one evening at Christmas.

Christmas at Portobello Baptist Church is much like Christmas for most churches. It represents a great opportunity to tell the story of Jesus to a much wider audience than normal.  The question is most often ‘what is the best way to do this?’ or “how do we engage as many people as possible?”.

We decided this year that on top of our regular Christmas programme, which included a carols by candlelight service in our building as well as the regular Sunday worship services, that we would take a carol service to the beach.  One of our small groups had the idea and made it happen.

The beach is our community’s shared space, all sorts of stuff takes place there through the year. We were not at all sure how it would be received nor how many people would turn up and participate.  In faith I printed 75 copies of the carol sheets.  We reckon about 250 people turned up, including a bunch out of the local pub, beer in one hand – carol sheet in the other.

Our lesson from this was simple.  If we take our message and practices to community spaces there are many (often more than we might think) who are happy and even eager to participate.