Norwich church wows 3000 with Christmas wonder  

The Wonder is Soul Church’s annual Christmas production and was an all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza that highlighted the true wonder of Christmas.

By Helen Baldry

The production, directed by Pastor Chantel Norman, involved an incredible 250 members of Soul Church in Norwich.  From actors, singers and dancers to parking attendants, ushers and sound tecnicians, it must have been a momumental effort to put on the production four times a day across two days on December 9 and 10.

I went to the first showing of the weekend with my six year old daughter Jemimah. The show featured Disney princesses and spiderman, which were a certain way to appeal to the young audience.  The story took us to Moana’s tropical island, to France to visit Belle from Beauty and the Beast and under the sea with Ariel. There were plenty of laughs and the church was packed, with an expected 3,000 people coming through the doors throughout the weekend.

Having visited Soul church in the past, I went along expecting lights, noise, big screens and incredible singers – and these things were certainly present. I anticipated the Christian message wedged in to the plot somewhere – but what did surprise me was the way the experience felt like I was part of Soul church for the morning  - with the opportunity to join in singing carols and worship songs, hear from the pastor Jon Norman and find out about some of the local and global initiatives the church is involved with.  It felt like church and that the audience was part of it rather than sitting back to be entertained.

Jon Norman explained that the wonder is that Christ came to give the greatest gift of all, which is the gift of peace. He explained that Jesus can give us real peace to our lives – you can have all the money in the world or be surrounded by all your friends and family but only real peace from Jesus will satisfy your soul.

There was an opportunity to respond to the message and to give to the work of the church, although the prupose of the production was to be a gift to Norwich, which is why there was no ticket price.

Jon Norman said, “As a church, we’ve a responsibility to place Jesus back at the centre of Christmas. The word is Christ-mas, yet Christmas is often abbreviated to xmas. Society is trying to remove Christ from it.

“This is one of those ways we can place Jesus in his rightful position. I think people are a lot more open to that than we tend to think they are.”

Jemimah said, “It was very good. I liked the boy elf because he was funny. I liked Santa, Moana, Ariel and Belle. All of the dancing was really beautiful. I loved it!”

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