As part of their Op Shop Market in November, St Matthew’s Georgetown will be running a Christmas Photobooth. Adults and children will be able to dress up as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, magi, and even baby Jesus. Props and costumes will be provided, and a professional photographer will capture a unique and off-beat family portrait.
“We got the idea from a Melbourne Anglican Priest, Rev’d Howard Langmead, who did something similar at St Paul’s Cathedral,” said the Rev’d Bryce Amner. “My wife Sally and I have helped run nativity photos in previous churches, but this will be the first time at Georgetown.”
Rev’d Bryce said that the reaction from people at previous Christmas events has usually been very affirming. “Some of the most enthusiastic participants have been young families who can supply a “real” baby Jesus. It gives them a great memento of their child’s first Christmas as well as an alternative to a commercial Santa photo. But we’ve also had groups of teenagers and older couples getting into the spirit and having fun.”
One of the key messages Rev’d Bryce wants to get across is that Christmas is about Jesus. “These days not everyone is familiar with the nativity story,” he said. “When we were setting up our stable backdrop and props at one market, a stallholder suggested that ‘we should have some reindeer so people will know it was about Christmas’. So it’s important that we keep telling the story of Jesus in ways that people can connect to.”
Rev’d Bryce is hopeful that this project will translate well into the new setting of Georgetown. “At our Spring Fête this year we had a prayer tree and invited everyone who visited to write a prayer. This was the first time that Georgetown church had tried something “spiritual” at an event like that, and the response from the community was overwhelmingly positive.”