From its humble beginnings with nine outdoor theatres built with tarps and chicken-wire, to a combination of welcoming music, lights, facade, nightly carol-singing and permanent wooden theatres, St. Mark’s Ocean Park’s “Journey of Christmas” celebrates its tenth year beginning Dec. 17.

Parishioners preparing the Journey of Christmas display at St. Mark’s Ocean Park, in South Surrey

What began as an inspired vision given to John Reader has become a Christmas tradition for many people who walk through the woods behind St. Mark’s. They have discovered the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the kings, angels and shepherds in realistic-looking mannequins along with background murals, theatre lighting and a sophisticated CD soundtrack.

Over the past couple of years, stormy weather has hurt attendance, so this year we will welcome you indoors to sing carols with an all-star list of entertainers, but keep in mind that the focus of the “Journey of Christmas” is the story as told through our guided Christmas walk-in-the-woods.

This year’s celebration will begin on Wed. Dec. 17 at 6 pm with a “Celebration of 10 Years of Ministry of the Journey of Christmas” led by the Rev. Craig Tanksley with a Christmas message from the Rev. Jim Fergusson, who was the rector when the display opened. Then a red ribbon will be cut to let this year’s first visitors through. There will also be a cake to mark the occasion.

‘Journey of Christmas’ Schedule

Dec. 17 to 23 and Dec. 26 to 28—from 6 pm to 9 pm

Dec. 18 also from 1-3 pm –Seniors’ afternoon

Dec. 24 from 3:30 to 9 pm

Entertainment lineup

The Shepherd in the Fields scene from Journey of Christmas

Wednesday, Dec. 17: In the Hall 7 -9 pm will be Phyllis & Friends (12 persons) a seniors group doing a “Sing-along” with bongo drum and base instrument.

Thursday, Dec. 18

1-3 pm— Sing-along Seniors’ group with Alex Mason

7-9 pm—White Rock Christian Academy School Choir - Music director is Savona Mynhardt.

Friday, Dec. 19th

7-9 pm—The Surrey Children’s Choir, in the church sanctuary. There will be at least 10 young people performing. This is a “fund raising” concert for their Wales trip next year.

Saturday, Dec. 20th

7-8pm—Children’s Puppet Show with Laura Lansink

8-9 pm—Pauline Turnham, pianist.

Sunday, Dec. 21

Surrey Symphony Society (Wind and String quartet groups) They have been practising at St. Mark’s for seven years.

Monday, Dec. 22nd

Trudy Bishop’s Sing-along Group

Dec. 26th Friday

Boxing Day Movie Night

Sunday, Dec. 28th

Final night. Sarah Ciantar with a music concert in the church sanctuary.