Come on in! A European-style Christmas market in Queenstown welcomes all
by Gemma Koh // December 1, 2023, 12:00 pm
Church of the Good Shepherd has lit up its grounds and, over two weekends in December, will host a Christmas market complete with "snow". They are welcoming all-comers, with the help of two neighbouring churches. All photos courtesy of Church of the Good Shepherd.
“Snow” will be falling this December at a magical European-style Christmas market in the heart of Queenstown.
From dusk on December 8, 9 and 10 and December 15, 16 and 17 (Fridays to Sundays), the Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) at Dundee Road will be beautifully illuminated with twinkling lights – a warm, open invitation for all to come in.
Over two weekends in December, its grounds will be transformed into a Christmas market complete with stalls, Christmas carols, regular “snowfall” and, for the young ones, bouncy castles and mechanical animal rides.
In 2016, two cell group members from the church hit upon the idea on having an event to show love to their neighbours – and those living further afield – instead of traditional door-to-door efforts.
“There was no better time than Christmas to do this,” Moses Lim, told Salt&Light. He has been spearheading the event, Christmas in Queenstown, since its inception in 2016.
Queenstown has a population of more than 100,000 people, and Church of the Good Shepherd is surrounded by flats and condos that have sprung up in recent years.
Light in the ‘hood
“The idea was to light up the church to make it so attractive that people would want to walk in,” said Moses.
“Hearts and minds are more open when they walk in on their own accord.”
They also wanted to give visitors the opportunity to linger and to soak in the peace of the season.
The two cell members Googled the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, for inspiration.
They took the idea to Rev Dr Jonathan Wong, Priest-in-Charge of COGS, who told them to run with it.
“Inspired by the Christmas markets in Europe, we set up stalls selling food and gifts to give people the opportunity to linger. We also brought in family-friendly activities like snow foam, bouncy castles and rides.”
A few of the stalls introduce people to the greatest Gift of all, Moses added. For those who are keen to find out more about the Christian faith, there will be people on hand to gently open conversations.
This is the fourth time the church is holding Christmas in Queenstown.
COGS Priest-in-Charge, Rev Dr Jonathan Wong told Salt&Light: “Our hope is that this annual event helps to bring some festive cheer to our neighbourhood of Queenstown.
“God demonstrated His love by sending Jesus to be present amongst us. And we hope that our presence as His body in this community will continue to carry this message to our neighbours.
“We are so happy that some of our fellow churches in Queenstown are also joining us this year as partners in this event for the first time,” he said.
A highlight of the market is the Christmas carols at 8pm.
“It’s to bless the community with the story of Christmas. The Word of God is shared though the lyrics of the carols,” said Moses.
“This is to sow a seed – or in the case of people who know about Jesus, to water a tiny plant.”
A seed grows
Moses has seen how God has grown the seeds which COGS and others have sown and nurtured.
He knows of two families who started attending Church of the Good Shepherd after coming to the Christmas market.
They include the Yeo family – Lewis, his wife Yuanyuan and their two young children.
Lewis’ sister, Pearl Yeo, took Yuanyuan and the children to the Christmas in Queenstown on December 18 last year. It was one of a number of events at churches that Pearl, a Christian, took them to.
“When I stepped into the church, I felt like I was coming home.”
Pearl told Salt&Light: “Instead of running around and fidgeting, the two children were attentive during the Christmas concert. I was so amazed.
“Their mother, Yuanyuan, felt very peaceful even though she could not understand English.”
Lewis, 50, who has cancer, was resting at home at that time.
Six days later at a Christmas Eve musical at another church, Lewis and his wife invited Jesus into their lives.
When the brand new Christians were looking for a church, Pearl suggested the Church of the Good Shepherd, where Yuanyuan and the children had felt so comfortable at the Christmas event.
Lewis told Salt&Light: “When I stepped into the church, I felt like I was coming home. The people welcomed us so warmly, we did not feel like strangers.”
Lewis and family now attend the bi-lingual service at COGS, and were baptised in May this year.
Christmas in Queenstown was just one of part of a long process that led to Lewis’ and his family’s salvation, said Moses.
(Check back on Salt&Light soon for Lewis’ story on how he was brought back from the brink of death).
“As with many salvations, some are involved in sowing seeds, some in watering, some in harvesting,” said Moses.
“Like Paul says, ‘I planted the seed in your hearts, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.'” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
Christmas in Queenstown
Dates: December 8, 9, 10 and December 15, 16, 17, 2023 (Fridays to Sundays). The church will be lit up every evening in the month of December.
Hours: 5pm – 10pm
Carolling times: 8pm, for about an hour
- December 8, 9 and 10: The Spot Collective comprises classical opera singers and a string ensemble that includes neuro-divergent musicians.
- December 15 and 16: WindWorkz The Big Band is a 20-piece jazz band.
- December 17: Dansen John & Friends is a pop band for the young and young at heart.
Venue: Church of the Good Shepherd, 2 Dundee Road, Singapore 149454
(Nearest MRT: Queenstown EW19)
Cost: Entry is free
About the market: Close to 40 stalls will be selling food, gifts and memorabilia. Some of the stalls will only be present at one of the two weekends. Snow foam will fall for 15 minutes at regular intervals at two areas in the compound (bring a towel and change of clothes for the children).
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