Events to spark your Christmas cheer

A round-up of church-based events across the country

If you’re yet to experience “the thrill of hope” this Christmas, Eternity has put together a resource that might help! Here’s our pick of church-based Christmas events across the country.

ADELAIDE: Carols on the Hill

Carols on the Hill is an evening of Christmas music with a live band, puppets, free food and fun hosted by Tea Tree Gully Anglican Church on its lawns under the shadow of Anstey Hill. Come and celebrate Christmas together with your family and friends this Saturday, 9 December at 19 Perseverance Road, Tea Tree Gully, from 6.30pm. No need to book online; just bring chairs or a picnic rug to sit on. Parking is available onsite and in the surrounding streets. If it’s raining, the service will move inside the church building. If you can’t attend in person, you can watch the livestream with family and friends on YouTube.

HOBART: Carols on the Hill

Staged at Guilford Young College oval (Hobart Campus) – a cosy venue perfect for a picnic – Carols on the Hill 2023 is a free, traditional outdoor carols event held on Saturday, 9 December. There will be food vans onsite and activities for children. The concert will feature local musical artists performing well-known Christmas carols and songs, with the lighting of candles as dusk descends on the city. In support of the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal, you are invited to donate unwrapped gifts under our large Giving Tree. The entrance is off Patrick Street. Gates open at 5.30 pm, with the Christmas concert held from 7 pm-9pm. For more information email [email protected]

DARWIN: Carols at the Waterpark

Carols at the Waterpark is Darwin’s combined churches Christmas event, featuring an adult and children’s choir. The event is on Saturday, 9 December, with kids’ activities and food starting at 5.30pm and carols from 6.30pm. The event features a barbecue (by donation), coffee cart, shaved ice and entertainment, including community singing and multicultural performances. Bring a rug or chair. Candles are available by donation, with proceeds going to Foodbank. The event is held at Leanyer Recreation Park, 215 Vanderlin Drive, Darwin – park at St James, Sanderson, just across the road (enter the Vanderlin Drive Service Road near Mueller Road). For more information head to the Facebook page.

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St Mary's Cathedral

St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney illuminated for Christmas. Image supplied Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2022

SYDNEY: Twelve Days of Christmas

St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt in the Sydney CBD will come alive with Christmas market stalls, live musical acts and activities in a free family event open to everyone starting Thursday, 14 December and running right up to Christmas Day.

This year’s Christmas at the Cathedral theme focuses on ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ marking twelvetide, the festive Christian season celebrating the birth of Jesus.

The cathedral will also be open each night to the public until the extended time of 10pm, with traditional Christmas displays, including a holy nativity scene, a towering real Christmas tree and displays explaining the true Christian teachings and origins of the 12 days of Christmas.

“I want the church to be out there and public, and really celebrating the great feasts of the church, and we do that in real style here at St Mary’s Cathedral at Christmas,” Archbishop Anthony Fisher said.

There will be light shows using the cathedral’s stunning architecture to share the message of Christmas by award-winning Australian company ‘The Electric Canvas’, the creative team behind VIVID Sydney and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, who have worked more than 265 days to create innovative visual content for the displays.

Festivities will begin each day at 5.30pm, with dinner options, stage performances, face painting and gift stalls underneath more than 600 fairy lights before the illumination of the cathedral at 8.30pm.

MELBOURNE: Carols in the Cathedral

Four of Melbourne’s finest choirs combine to present Carols in the Cathedral, Melbourne’s premier concerts of traditional Christmas music and readings on 15 and 16 December. Book early for this event in which the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir will be joined by members of Melbourne University Choral Society, the angelic voices of The National Boys Choir of Australia and Box Hill Chorale, accompanied by the spectacular RMP Brass Consort and percussion, piano, organ, harp and soloists from the RMP Orchestra and special guest soloist Jeremy Kleeman, all under the baton of award-winning conductor Andrew Wailes.

Glorious hymns and carols, soaring descants, spine-tingling acapella pieces, uplifting verse and majestic brass fanfares will make for a magnificent Christmas celebration in the inspiring surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral. Concert times are 15 December 8.30pm, 16 December 2pm and 7pm. Doors open 30 minutes before. Held at St Paul’s Cathedral, corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets,
Melbourne. Click here to book and for inquiries, email [email protected]

BRISBANE: Live-action Christmas story

MOSAIC: the Christmas Story is a live-action telling of the first Christmas by Storytellers Co, an independent faith-based theatre and production company based in Brisbane. This 2000-year-old story of Jesus’ birth is brought to life by an array of colourful, despicable and courageous characters. MOSAIC recreates ancient Middle Eastern times with an impassioned score, breathtaking stage combat, elaborate wardrobe and beautiful Jewish choreography. Storytellers Co are a team of dedicated volunteers from different churches across Brisbane, who express their faith through their craft, and offer audiences a fresh perspective on the timeless truths of the gospel. MOSAIC: The Christmas Story is designed to point people directly to Jesus. Performances will be held from Monday 18 December to Saturday 23 December, at Stanleys Chapel, 31 Glenelg St, South Brisbane. Click here to book tickets and for more information, head to the website: mosaicchristmas.co

Christmas lunch in the park

PERTH: Help those in need celebrate Christmas

Over in Perth, Mission Australia is calling for volunteers and donations for the Christmas Lunch in the Park on 25 December, sharing Christmas cheer with the city’s most marginalised and disadvantaged. This 48th annual Christmas Lunch in the Park event is billed as Australia’s largest Christmas lunch for those who need it most. About 320 volunteers are expected to share food and friendly chat with about 1200 guests who are doing it tough.

Mission Australia WA State Director Sue Budalich said each year, her army of volunteers travels from places such as Mandurah, Bunbury, Helena Valley and even Port Hedland. “The event exemplifies the spirit of giving and compassion during the holiday season for those experiencing hardship or homelessness,” said Budalich.

There’s a wide variety of volunteer roles available, including setting up before the event, hosting a table, serving food, packing up after lunch and even cutting hair. The Wellness Zone has showers and clothing available for those who need it and is an opportunity to connect with support services. Every guest receives a special care pack of essentials, such as food and sanitary items, which help tide people over the holiday period while many services are closed.

With a 30 per cent increase in costs, donations have never been more important for this community-funded event. You can ‘Donate a Plate’ online for $35; while $140 can provide Christmas lunch, gifts and care packs for a family of four. The website also offers help with organising fundraising events such as a walk-a-thon or morning tea. For more information, go to the website: christmaslunchinthepark.com.au