We started the Fall 2016 season in Toledo and ended in Central Florida. Along the way we weathered Hurricane Matthew, went to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh NC, and visited Bobby’s family in Myrtle Beach SC.
First Baptist Church of Orlando is where Becky and I used to attend in the 1980s. We have many fond memories of FBC, especially of the friends we made through the Sunday School class we taught for several years.
The church encouraged me to attend seminary, and generously provided a full scholarship. I chose Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Marin County, CA, and graduated with a Master of Divinity. Afterward, I pastored churches in California, and served in various Christian ministries. The church had a long lasting and very positive impact on our lives.
So we were excited to return to FBC during our stay in Orlando. First, it was a nice homecoming, and second, they have terrific services. Their regular Sunday services are among the best in the country.
In addition, we had the special treat of attending their annual Singing Christmas Trees presentation. It is quite the spectacular, just as we remembered from our days there.
First Baptist is a large church. The auditorium holds 6,000. We saw the Trees on a Saturday night, and nearly every seat was full. In fact, we had to sit on the top row of the balcony, because all the better seats were already taken, even though we arrived 30 minutes early.
Down on the stage, two huge Christmas trees rose 45 feet toward the ceiling. Hidden inside the trees, 300 singers stood with only their faces visible. Lighted wreathes encircled each singer’s face, transforming them into “300 singing tree ornaments”. A fifty piece orchestra provided the music.
In front of the trees, a cast of 100 performed a modern musical about Christmas and the Christmas spirit. First Baptist pulls from the rich talent pool in Orlando, and their productions, including this one, are first rate.
The Singing Christmas Trees has been going on since 1980. Over the years, it has become an Orlando tradition. And this year the church held eight performances of the Singing Trees over two weeks, with tens of thousands of people in attendance. We’re glad we could be among them.