On Thursday, December 6, 2018, our church was invited by the City of Kitchener to sing, perform, and share the Christmas message on the main event stage at the Christkindl Market festival in front of City Hall. This was our second year in a row taking part in this annual Christmas event. The event organizers gave us great feedback about our involvement in the event last year and graciously invited us back (click here for a video from last year’s performance). And so this year we returned with a similar format: sing some contemporary and traditional Christmas songs, read Matthew 1:18-25, and preach a brief Christmas message.
The worship team took the stage and performed several songs. All seemed to be going well. The crowd gathered in front of the stage was noticeably larger than last year. After a few songs a sweet grandmother from our church stepped up to the mic to read Matthew 1:18-25 in German. After all, the word “Christkindl” is German for “Christ child”. Furthermore, about 15 feet from the main stage was a nativity scene set up by the City of Kitchener…pointing to the birth of Christ. Yet, without warning, when the sweet lady from our church began to read from the book of Matthew, her mic was turned off. Not only that, background music was played through the speakers to seemingly drown out her voice and embarrass her.
The event organizers proceeded to tell Taylor and Pastor Jacob that they did not want us to read the Bible or to preach from the Bible and that if we did, they would continue to turn off our mics. This was not communicated to us ahead of time leading up to the event. We were never told this, nor were we given a policy explaining what can and cannot be said from the Christkindl stage. We were completely blind-sided by this. Apparently, it is offensive to speak of the birth of Christ at a Christ Child Market next to a nativity display.
After this, another couple Christmas songs were performed and then Pastor Jacob was set to take the stage. He grabbed a mic and began to speak into it. The audio was cut off. He grabbed another mic on the stage. Same result. But that didn’t stop him. The crowd gathered in close to hear what he had to say and he was able to preach the gospel in the open air and share the message of Christmas with the crowd. Here is a clip from his open-air preaching which has 12,000 views and counting:
The gospel is going forth. This story has generated media coverage (see below). We will post coverage on this blog post as it becomes available.
570 News Coverage on the Mike Farwell Show
CTV Kitchener News
CBC Radio One Toronto
The Waterloo Region Record
The Nectarine – Fresh News
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10
“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32