Carols by headlights
Olton Baptist Church, Solihull, organised a drive-in carol service in December. Bernice Lingard reports on what happened - and how it was received
Mark Tindale, one of the leadership team from Olton Baptist Church, Solihull went to a drive-in cinema with his family in the autumn and had an idea to create a drive-in-carol Service in Solihull.
This came to fruition with a service at Blythe Valley Business Park on 19 December 2020. We sold out the 6.30pm service very quickly and added a 3.30pm service which also sold out. With 180 cars at both, we estimate 1000 adults and children attended. There were amazing answers to prayer with IM Properties offering their car park free, the right volunteers coming forward for the different roles needed, a flatbed lorry sourced for a stage through DHL and Landrover, and Ofcom coming through with the FM licence so that people could listen through their car radios.
There were 60 volunteers who made it happen from Olton Baptist Church, but also from connections made by the church through their Sunday Out community group links and other connections. The service was co-ordinated by Mark Tindale, with speaker Steve Bavington from Chaplaincy Plus in Birmingham talking about the nativity from the Shepherd's perspective. A band comprising some connected musicians and singers sung well known carols.
We included some short videos including local schools singing a carol, some of the OBC children telling the nativity story and we were given permission to use the Blessing song video from Gas St Church. It was free but people had an opportunity to give to 'Love your neighbour' from a Birmingham City Centre Church and Chaplaincy Plus. We have offered some follow up options through church including a children's fun zoom event, a zoom pub quiz, and online Search and Prayer course.
There have been some wonderful comments about the event, including 'It was amazing, much needed!'; 'It was a brilliant event! The singing was brilliant and the videos a heartening touch'; 'So much joy' and 'We had a great time, thanks to all who made it happen'.
Prayer was key, both before and during the whole day of the event and we felt that God was saying to be bold and take some risks. We pray for ongoing opportunities to share God's love through this event and we give thanks for help from Solihull Council, local MPs and the local councillors as well as all those who gave their time for this wonderful event.
Bernice Lingard, Olton Baptist Church, Solihull