‘Fire and brimstone’ at carols

KIDDIES expecting a few jaunty singalongs about Santa and Rudolf got a bit of a surprise at Hyde Park’s Carols by Candlelight the other night — a full-on “fire and brimstone” sermon, according to unhappy Voice reader Donelle Phillips.

Run by Youth with a Mission for more than a decade without complaint, the event this year featured a dramatisation of the Christmas story using Bible verses.

“What transpired was most unexpected and offensive,” Mt Lawley’s Ms Phillips told the Voice. “The choir was wonderful but the songs were more like hymns, not carols, and then on came this preacher, ranting and raving, fire and brimstone, angel Gabriel, barren women, miracles, etc.

“He went on for 20 to 30 minutes — may as well have been at an evangelistic convention.” Ms Phillips says she and her friends had sauntered down to the Vincent council-sponsored event, “looking forward to a joyous, happy performance of beautiful Christmas carols”.

“We weren’t there to listen to him, and all the Christmas carols tell you all you need to know about the birth of Jesus.

“We and others around us were not impressed and, like us, packed up and left.”

Peter Brownhill from Youth with a Mission appeared to acknowledge it may not have gone down as hoped.

”Last Friday night was quite typical of previous carols except for one difference; this year we had an ex-Broadway actor dramatisation of the Christmas story using a sequence of Bible passages. The presentation went for 15 minutes.

“We are sorry this was a problem and will take that into account for next year’s carols. This is the first complaint we have had in the many years we have been presenting the carols in Hyde Park and do appreciate the feedback.

“Our program was longer than previous years with more carols presented. The difference was the dramatisation of the Christmas story by the international guest.”

by DAVID BELL

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