Andover Church Offers Carols and Ministry at Local Brewery
Editor’s Note: The Christmas season is a great time to be creative about how your church can engage with your neighbors. As you look back at last month's Advent preparation and services, and are deciding what worked, what didn't, and what you will do next year, take a look at this successful, unusual, Advent program offered by South Church in Andover, MA.
|Despite the event happening in a brewery, Beer and Carols is an event for all ages|
No, this wasn’t a Christmas or Advent worship service, it was the 3rd annual Beer and Carols held last month at Oak and Iron Brewery, sponsored by South Church in Andover, MA. What began as a one-night-only event in 2017, is now a two-night, sold out mainstay of the Christmas season in Andover.
“I had a hunch this would meet a need in the community, but I had no idea it would be as popular as it is,” said Alex Shea Will, Associate Pastor for South Church. “The interest was so huge the first year, we had to institute a ticketing system for the second year to make sure we weren’t violating the fire code of the brewery.” Despite adding an additional night and charging $5 a ticket, both nights sold out in 2018 and 2019 in about three days.
The format is rather simple. Working with a team of musicians from South Church, Shea Will leads the singing throughout the night, inviting attendees to shout out song suggestions using the songbooks made by the church. Songs are a mix of religious and secular favorites. During breaks in the singing, carolers buy another round of beer and socialize.
“The first year, I was jumping up on a table and shouting over the crowd, like something you might imagine in a German beer hall,” said Shea Will. Now in its third year, the set-up is slightly more sophisticated, but still reliant on the same energy and enthusiasm of the first year. “You’d be surprised how loudly adults will sing Frosty the Snowman if you just give them permission and create the space.”
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Source: Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ
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