Parishes, schools and agencies

Children add WOW factor to Winchelsea's Christmas

A giant banner is helping Winchelsea churches to share the Christmas message with travellers coming through the town.

December 14 2016

Children, and a healthy dose of ecumenism, have helped Winchelsea Christians share the joy of Christmas with travellers making their way along the Princes Highway through the town, about 115 kilometres south-west of Melbourne.

A banner produced in the town's WOW ("What's On Wednesdays") program, which replaced Special Religious Instruction in Winchelsea and is run by former SRI teachers and local ministers of religion, gives a very local flavour to Christmas. WOW is held after school on Wednesdays in the Leisure Time Centre beside Winchelsea Primary School.

In November, children involved in the program were invited to dress up and pose for Nativity scenes. With the permission of all parents of children involved, the children were photographed and the images displayed on a six-metre-by-1.3-metre banner, which has been attached to the fence of the local hardware store that faces the highway.

The Priest-in-Charge of Winchelsea Anglican Parish, the Revd Wendy Gravolin, said feedback had been very positive.

"Being a small country town, we do many things interchurch in Winchelsea and the Interchurch Committee finance WOW and this banner," Mrs Gravolin said. "We generally use Scripture Union materials for the program which involves games, story and craft.

"Baby Jesus was Harry from our Mainly Music program and his presence really inspired the children. None of these children attend church but they are learning about Jesus through WOW and were very enthusiastic participants!"

Mrs Gravolin said she organised the wording on the banner and directed the children, while Peter and Lyn Redding from the Uniting Church were photographer and program leader for the day respectively. The printer and designer was Stuart Fountain from Mud Group, a graphic design studio based in Winchelsea.

Winchelsea Anglican Parish comprises three historic churches to the west and south-west of Geelong — St Thomas' Winchelsea, St Paul's Deans Marsh and Holy Trinity in the Barrabool Hills, near Ceres — with Anglican worship in the area dating from the 1840s.