"The Heart of Christmas," a musical play, was directed and coordinated by young aspiring performers Abigail Surgeon and Krista Villan from the Wilna Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The theme of the musical was to share the meaning of Christmas but in a child-friendly format.
"Christmas is often seen as a time to receive gifts by most kids" Abigail said. "I wanted to produce a Christmas program to allow kids to celebrate the birth of Christ and build a closer relationship with God."
The approach was to develop a play that would be directed and performed by children. It consisted of children playing musical instruments, narrating stories, serving as team coordinators, leading out with the sound and AV productions and participating in the children's choir. The program provided opportunities for kids of all ages and skills to be involved and lend their talents.
The children's choir invited kids from within the church and community to participate. It consisted of members who were children of past visitors, community children and friends of the Wilna youth.
"We even had a child volunteer to participate in the choir the day of the play!" Abigail said. "It was a chance to reach kids in our community who may not normally attend church or know God for themselves."
For the past three years the Wilna church has put together a Christmas play to share the story of Christ. This year, it decided to change the format and invite the church youth to lead the program.
"The youth are our future and getting them involved in the ministry of God and community service is important in the development of their leadership skills and a love for Christ," Children's Ministry Leader Bonnie Hawley said.
Wilna SDA church has been part of the Harford County community since early 1950. It lends its name from its original purchaser the former Wilna County Schoolhouse. The church is in the historic "Valley of the Churches" section of Old Joppa Road. The church is very active in the community through its outreach activities to help feed the homeless, disaster relief efforts, nursing home visitations and its many youth community service programs.
"We are a small church made up of caring and loving people" Pastor Tom LeBlanc said.
Visitors often say "Everyone is so friendly and warm …. The church feels like home" Communication Ministry Coordinator Valerie Nozea said. Hence the church website front page banner "Welcome Home."