Pandemic or not, togetherness at Christmastime remains as important as ever.

Recently, five churches in Loon Lake – Grace Fellowship, The World Church, Calvary United, St. George’s Anglican and Sacred Heart Catholic Church – did just that, came together to celebrate the season with churchgoers and the community as a whole in the form of a drive-thru Nativity. According to organizers, it was a way to still offer something special for the season while keeping everyone healthy and safe.

“It was a simple Christmas event for the community and for people from surrounding areas who wanted to come out,” explained event organizer Joni Taylor of Grace Fellowship Church.

The event began with a low-contact stop at Grace Fellowship where participants picked up a map, as well as the audio required for the tour.

“Once on their way, they travelled to each of the five churches within the village where they witnessed a scene of the Biblical Christmas story leading up to Jesus’ birth,” Taylor continued. “The tour ended at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with the full Nativity scene – the classic one everybody knows.”

Taylor went on to say there has never been a Christmas event like this in Loon Lake before.

“Usually, Cornerstone Community Church does its Bethlehem Walk every second year,” she said. “Everybody kind of knows what that is all about, but, this year, they obviously weren’t able to do it, but I still wanted to see something happen in the community – a positive Christmas event we could all enjoy. This is an idea that came out of that – paying homage to the Bethlehem Walk but doing something that’s safe for 2020.”

She also said it’s been a lot of fun and quite rewarding to have all five churches working together.

“We’ve been having a good time,” Taylor said. “We met over Zoom with the pastors and the church leaders to plan this out and to see what everybody was thinking and doing for their part of the production… it’s been nice to work together.”

This was echoed by Fr. Kendrick Beler of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

“It was a good idea and I’m happy the various churches have been able to work together on a common initiative,” Fr. Beler noted. “Historically, Loon Lake has always had about seven churches and we always haven’t got along, so this is awesome in terms of ecumenism.”

Taylor, meanwhile, said it was important to be able to do something for the community at Christmastime after what has been a difficult year for everyone.

“Usually in December there are so many community things happening and everybody is really together enjoying the season,” she said. “This year is different. Everybody’s calendar is empty compared to other Decembers, and I thought it was important to do one thing that would bring Christmas spirit to people and bring people together, but keep them safe at the same time.”

Fr. Beler agreed.

“It gives a sense Christmas is happening,” he said. “Our Lord came to us 2,000 years ago and he’s still with us, so it’s a good thing for the community to have some faith opportunities and to see something being outspoken about when it comes to the reality of Christmas.”

by Phil Ambroziak