It’s officially Christmas in Norfolk
The weather outside was frightful, but the mood in Wellington Park was “de-lightful.”
Despite near freezing temperatures and steady rain, hundreds came out Saturday evening for the official light-up of Simcoe’s Christmas Panorama.
This kick-off was special as it marked the 60th anniversary of the annual celebration of Christmas lights. Many communities make a point of lighting up their towns today but Simcoe was among the first when the tradition began in 1958.
When the floor was opened this fall to suggestions for who should have the honour of flipping the switch, organizers were inundated with calls to give the job to Olivia Hazen of Simcoe, a young girl who is battling cancer.
“It’s officially Christmas in Simcoe,” said cohost Gerry Hamill, a spokesperson for Norfolk General Hospital who has manned the microphone at the opening for 20 years. “Thank you very much everyone. Enjoy Panorama in the park.”
Hamill took time to focus on the huge volunteer effort that goes into making Panorama happen. He thanked the individuals who make time to light up the park at sunset (5:30 p.m.) and then come back late at night (11 p.m.) to shut it down. Panorama volunteers will keep up this routine until Jan. 6.
Olivia and her young brother Jacob lit up the park around 7 p.m. Saturday after presentations from the Simcoe Firefighters Association - a major sponsor of Panorama - and a performance of three Christmas songs by country music band Small Town Girls of Langton - winners of the 2018 Norfolk Has Talent competition.
“I think this event showcases the best the region has to offer,” Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp told the assembled throng in her first official appearance in that capacity.
The 60th anniversary provided an opportunity to look back at the long history of the event. There at the beginning were Joan and Don Daley of Simcoe.
Don Daley told the crowd how the event began modestly with the placement of floats from the town’s Santa Claus parade and a few lit displays on an island in Lake George. Daley said Panorama was confined to this area at the outset because that’s where electricity was available.
“They asked `What are you going to call it?’” Daley said. “And Joan said `Panorama of Lights.’ And the name stuck.” msonnen[email protected]media.com
Avondale United Church
On December 2, the congregation at Avondale met for worship at 10:30 a.m. with Susan barker-James as Lay Preacher, barrie Harper running the projector and bruce Fleming on keyboard. During the announcements Jean Currier told us that Church Council had accepted with regret a letter of resignation from rev. Kevin Taylor.
The Advent Candle was lit by Susan and Hope is a Star and Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus were sung. The offering was taken up by Dan Fisher and rosalie Willaert. The scriptures read were taken from Isaiah 60 The Glory of Zion and Luke 12 Watchfulness. Susan sang “When a Star is Shining ” and accompanied herself on guitar.
The message for adults was Waiting for Jesus. Many of us are impatient but there is a blessedness of waiting. We can learn to wait and see a vision for things to happen. We can then look forward to something wonderful to happen. Jesus too is waiting to be a quiet guest in us. Are we ready for Jesus to visit? Jesus is God’s gift to us but he needs help. He lives in the form of people all around us. Let us be as servants and prepare our hearts for joy, hope and love.
The choir’s anthem was “Was He Quiet or Did He Cry? / Away In a Manger.”
Susan then sang the Prayer of St. Francis and this was followed by silent prayers. Our worship closed with the benediction and singing of “I See a New Heaven” and “Will you Come and See the Light.”
you are welcome to join us Sunday at 10:30 a.m. when the Kids Connection children will be in charge of our worship. Following our service we will have a pot luck lunch.
Our Christmas Eve service will begin at 7 p.m. and our Christmas Dinner for those otherwise alone will be at noon on December 25.
Bayham United Church
bayham united Church had a music night on Saturday, December 1 with the The Voices Of broadway show choir which was well attended and deeply enjoyed by everyone.
bayham united Church opened for service at 10 a.m. on Sunday, December 2 with Pastor Jenn brown leading the service. Music was supplied by Courtney Porch. Pastor brown opened the service by having the congregation place small items on the Christmas Trees in the church.
The first hymn was O Come All ye Faithful followed by a vision statement from the pastor. Janet Daniel led the congregation in the congregational life and work of the church. There was a period of passing the peace among the congregation followed by the lighting of the Christ Candle at the front of the church. The next hymn was Hallelujah. Pastor brown led the congregation in the call to worship responded to by the congregation. The next hymn was Hope Is A Star. Pastor brown led the congregation in the opening prayer. The choir sang the hymn Come O Come.
Judy raddatz led the children in a story to tell and the singing of the Lord’s Prayer. The next hymn was O Holy Night. Pastor brown read from the book of Lamentations, Chapter 3 verse 20-26 in which the bible states how the soul continually thinks of God’s love for people. Also the book of romans, Chapter 13 verse 11-12 which states an urgent appeal for people to wake up and speaks about salvation being nearer to us than when we became believers, and how we are to live honorably as in the day.
In her meditation Pastor brown noted O Holy Night was written in the 1800s in France by a local merchant who also happened to be a poet, and the song was spread far and wide. She spoke about what Holy Night would have been like almost 2,000 years ago and how Mary and Joseph and little baby Jesus traveled to bethlehem and were placed in a stable for the night where Jesus was born.
The next hymn was Hope Is born this Night from the reflection video in the church. Pastor brown led the congregation in the prayers of the people with the congregation repeating the words God Of Hope Hear Our Prayer after each paragraph. Pastor brown then led the congregation in the message of sending forth. The congregation stood for the singing of the final hymn called May The God Of Hope Go With us as the service ended.
Next week’s service will be at 10 a.m. on Sunday and all are invited to attend and worship with us.
Langton Baptist Church
Allan Wilson opened the November 11 “remembrance Day” Church service at 11 a.m.
His message was on ‘remembrance Day.’
He showed a video of David roever who was a Veteran of the war. He told of his very bad experiences/ We’re all about people. God gave you your life. Let Him bless it. The church saved him.
A moment of of silence was observed.
The children’s story was about ‘The poppy.’
Dorothy Hemstra, survivor of the war in Holland, told her story of her experiences in Holland.
Mary Jean yzerman read the names of the men from here who served in the war, and barry yzerman rang the church bell as each name was read.
Hymns sung were “O God, our help in ages past;” and “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
Prayers of supplication and praise were given by Allan Wilson. Offering was received by Tracy Knack and David barnim.
Ted Molyneaux opened the November 18 church service at 11 a.m.
His message was on ‘The worship of Faith.’
“Encourage our walk in faith with God. God will perform what He has promised. We live in a very persuasive word. Faith is an active power within us. If we have faith, is that our life? Allow God’s fears to work in us. When God directs us, He is here to help us. We are saved by faith. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Help us to be the person God wants us to be.” Followed by prayer.
Hymns sung were “All the way my Father leads me;” “Faith of our Fathers;” and “I am thine, O Lord.”
Prayers of supplication and praise were given by Ted Molyneaux. Offering was received by David barnim and Kim Fasseel.
Haley Van Maele of Langton, lead singer of country music band Small Town Girls, the 2018 Norfolk Has Talent champs, played three Christmas classics during the opening ceremony for the 60th annual Christmas Panorama in Simcoe Saturday.
Jillian Van Daalen of Tillsonburg, a member of the Small Town Girls - winners of the 2018 Norfolk Has Talent competition - keeps time on a beat box (cajon). The Small Town Girls played a set of Christmas classics before the official opening of the Simcoe Panorama display of Christmas lights Saturday night.