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Posted: December 4, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Not So Silent Night

Covington Christian Church brings the night to life with fires, drama productions and camels

Submitted photo/

Saturday under the stars: Covington Christian Church will have live animals, including donkeys and a camel (below). Other attractions at the celebration include fire pits, hot chocolate served with a smile, sing-a-long carols and a 35-minute drama...

"Not So Silent Night," a free outdoor family event and drama sponsored by the Covington Christian Church, will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6. While many churches offer the traditional Christmas program and cantata, music director, John Johnson wanted to try a different approach — something unique that would be a gift to the community.

Celebrating their third annual event, Covington Christian Church is looking forward to sharing the joy of the season with the community and getting to know one another better. Outdoor fire pits will take the chill out of the air while members serve complimentary hot chocolate, give families an opportunity to enjoy the train ride and visit the petting zoo and stable area to see a live camel, donkeys and sheep before the 35-minute drama begins. There will be sing-along carols in addition to choir specials blending traditional Christmas and worship songs.

"Good news has been rare for many families this year, but this Christmas season comes at a great time with a great message," said the Rev. Tim Bolen, pastor of Covington Christian Church. "We would like to share some time with your family this weekend as we celebrate Christmas together in a special way. Take this opportunity to enjoy the Christmas story and make some new friends. We could all use some good news as we watch 2009 come to an end. This night will be filled with joy and hopefully take a burden off you for a while. Please make this a part of your Christmas celebration this weekend."

The first year attracted approximately 400 people. The entire congregation has gotten involved in every aspect of the event — from construction of outdoor sets, to practicing for the choir and newly added drama written by the pastor’s wife Mary Bolen, who also designed the costumes.

"When I first heard that Covington Christian Church called their yearly Christmas program, "Not So Silent Night" I was excited about seeing what that meant," said Mary. "This is one of the best family-friendly, true Christmas-spirited events that I have been a part of. We laugh, sing, shiver a little and genuinely enjoy being together and inviting guests to this event. It is not just what we are inviting the community to, but who we are inviting them to get to know. The script is new this year, but God wrote the story many years ago; it is still my favorite and rings of truth and excitement!"

In the early development of "Not So Silent Night," Johnson said they wanted to develop a new tradition for families in Covington.

"My wife, Ginger, suggested we do an outdoor event with animals. There’s something magical about being under the stars. We encourage everyone to come out and bring their lawn chair. There is no real cut off time — people can hang out and drink hot chocolate and can stay as long as they want."

The animals are rented from Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville, and they arrive with qualified attendants in shepherd costume. The camel is described as very friendly and personable — not a spitter. Johnson said they will provide hand sanitizer and facilities for children to wash their hands after petting the animals.

CCC members have helped to advertise by participating in a contest. Each had 48 hours to see how many places they could take a stuffed toy camel and invite people to the event. "Steve, the camel" has been bowling, ice-skating and to the airport, posed with the Eastside football team and will make a guest appearance with Brian Knapp on the Chat Room.

Mary and Joseph are portrayed by Sarah Bolen and Ryland Terrell. Hal and Rachel Wells are the main actors in the drama. Recording artist Skye Johnson will sing "Here I Am to Worship."

Singer, guitar and trumpet player, Terrell is new to drama and was nervous about accepting the part.

"I prayed and realized it is not about me, but it’s always about God and how I represent him," said the eighteen year old. "It’s going to be a really good experience for me."

The Covington Christian Church is located at 141 Highway 142. For more information, call (770) 786-1021 or e-mail tim@covingtonchristian.org.

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