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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Buckle

Dinner Theatre 2014

Every year at Redwood we invite our community to join us for Dinner and a theatre production designed to help people kick off their Christmas celebrations with a laugh and some friends and to introduce them to our community at Redwood.

Over the years we have done Charlie Brown Christmas, a Christmas Story, Scrooge, and many others Christmas classics and not so classics, but the point is not the show.

Each night we cook 75kg of beef – 15 cases of chicken with all the fixings ( we serve salad too. Seriously, that much meat without potatoes and salad.. That’d be too much) but the point is not the meal.

A lot goes into Dinner Theatre, but we get way more out of it than we put into it.

Here are a few reasons why we do Dinner Theatre:

Dinner Theatre Builds Community

Each year over 300 staff and volunteers put in thousands of man hours to show love and hospitality to the people who live down the street or across town from us as a way to bless our neighbours. It’s an incredible thing to see that many people investing so much of their time to make an event happen. That’s almost 1 in 4 people who call Redwood home, putting their best on display for their friends, neighbours and people from our community whom they’ve never met.

That kind of commitment inspires me.  If you weren’t a part of our team this year, I hope it inspires you too. Every year there are a number of opportunities to serve alongside of other legends at Redwood and you know what they say, “He (or she) who walks with legends becomes one” (I think that’s what they say anyways).

Dinner Theatre Forges Team

Dinner Theatre is a pretty complex machine with a lot of working parts. Being part of that kind of thing does something to a church. Alan Hirsch (and others) describes those kind of experiences as communitas experiences, and suggests they are an essential part of building a faith community.

Communitas is a community formed in the context of an ordeal, a challenge, a task or a mission that requires each player to find each other in a new/significant way.

These challenges become liminal (a rite of passage, the experience of standing at, or crossing over, a threshold into a new dimension of existence, in this case community or togetherness) and transform the people involved and the community forever.

Teams need to face challenges and overcome in order to reach their full potential. DT has been an incredible tool to build and stretch teams into whole new dimensions of effectiveness.

Our teams pull together. Our women’s ministry spends hours and hours decking our halls and trees. Teams from our food bank set tables every day and make the place ready for guests. Men cut chicken.  Interns stock fridges.  Volunteers wash and iron aprons. It’s an absolutely enormous machine with a million working parts and every day I watch in amazement to see how people rise to the occasion.

It’s exhausting!  It’s incredibly inspiring!

Dinner Theatre Lets Us Love Our City

We love our city and we love serving our neighbours. Each year over 2500 people from our community kick off Christmas at Redwood’s Dinner Theatre. For many of those who come Christmas life in general is complicated. Some of the faces who laugh at our silly parking video will go home and struggle with the complexity of Christmas for a broken family. Some who eat like kings on Friday, will get laid off on Monday. Many who live in our city struggle their way through life without ever knowing that there are people who care about them and what they’re going through. We want the people in Northwood and all over Thunder Bay to know that there is a community of Faith on Redwood Ave, where you can go and find encouragement, hope and genuine friendships. We know that trusting friendships like that take time to develop.  We’ll be here, and we’d love to meet you.

Over the years, many who have found Redwood, have found much more than just community, they’ve discovered a God who loved them enough to send someone to meet their deepest needs. The Christ of Christmas.

That’s why we do Dinner Theatre each year at Redwood.  It takes months to plan and hundreds of man hours to execute but the impact it’s had on me and many around me will truly last a lifetime.

Thanks for being a part of it Redwood! Thanks for coming Thunder Bay!


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