Every year, the Whistler Village Church at Millennium Place puts on two Christmas Eve services for the enjoyment of local and visiting Christians, or indeed for anyone seeking an experience of warmth and love at this special time of year. All are welcome. The 6:30 p.m. service, a Nativity service specifically for families and children, is particularly popular, and dozens of disappointed worshippers are annually turned away from the packed theatre.
Knowing the special place this service holds in people's hearts made it especially traumatic when we discovered last minute that our minister was unable to make it up the highway from Vancouver!
We are a small church, with a tiny roster of volunteers, and I would like to acknowledge the generous response of those volunteers, who responded with grace and humour to the daunting task of hosting the services alone. Thanks to them, all who attended enjoyed an experience that sent them out into the snowy night with a warm and happy anticipation for a wonderful Whistler Christmas.
Karen Wootton and Morgan Montgomery each did the work of 20 volunteers. Their unflagging dedication and unending good humour and patience were inspiring to all, and without them it is certain the services would have been cancelled.
Each year, Susan Shrimpton undertakes a Powerpoint accompaniment that is eagerly anticipated for its beauty and deeply moving content; forced to change and adapt the content at the 11 th hour, Susan rose to the challenge with her usual calmness and achieved a result that was acclaimed as her best ever. This meant however, that Susan could not undertake her additional role of “wardrobe mistress” for eager little angels and shepherds, and we must apologize to any disappointed would-be angels and shepherds out there!
Our team of young readers at the 6:30 p.m. service found themselves suddenly without a leader. But they stepped up to the mic and delivered their readings with a mature and professional aplomb that was a lesson to us all. For this, I would like to thank Natasshia, Kenneth and Jacquelin Pamintuan, Harrison, Samantha and Michaela Shrimpton, and Frazer and Morgan McGaw.
Thank you as well to our piano accompanist Rachael Lythe, for patiently accommodating the amateur and impromptu leadership of the services.
We were forced to cancel our Christmas Day morning service, and for this we offer apologies to any who were inconvenienced.
This experience taught me that the Christmas message of God's love can emerge in the most unexpected way, and that the Whistler volunteer spirit is alive and well at our church.