Church brings interactive light show and community gathering to the heart of the Netherlands – Port Arthur News
NEDERLAND – It’s hard to miss the giant building that is the First Baptist Church Nederland. But if you stay overnight this month, it will be next to impossible.
Church leaders recently unveiled a large interactive Christmas light display that syncs to music and serves to bring the community together after two difficult years.
âWe really needed a big boost in the Christmas spirit after everything we’ve been through,â said Pastor Jason Burden. “We wanted to be able to bless our community with something very special, and we were able to do that this year.”
The idea started last Christmas when Youth and Family Pastor Adam VanArsdale and his family were roaming Southeast Texas to look at the lights. They stumbled upon a house in Bridge City with lights synchronized with music, and families could tune their radios to a certain station to listen to.
And bringing the idea to the building at 1911 Nederland Avenue has been in the works almost since then.
âWe actually started with the software side and the tutorials in January,â VanArsdale said of himself and his cousin, Caleb Washburn. âWe live in this age where you kind of learn as you go. There were a lot of tutorials on YouTube, and Caleb is an engineer. He’s very smart. So we certainly relied a lot on him and others in our church who had a variety of networking backgrounds. “
However, few of the church’s 2,000-plus members knew about it – even when parts started arriving and assembly began this summer in the gymnasium.
It turned out to be a surprise to our church as well, âsaid VanArsdale. “We worked on it with a selection of six people who knew about it, and the others saw him go up on the building when the community saw him go up on the building.”
With over 7,000 fairy lights, the church presented the creation to its congregation on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. And from November 28, it has become a night time exhibition that everyone can participate in.
The light exhibition will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every evening until December 31. But the weekends will have a little something extra, as groups will bring in treats, hot chocolate, etc.
âWe recognize that weekends will be the best times for people to take their kids out and see a show,â Burden said. “It’s free. And we want to be a blessing to the people. It’s really going to help us know that Christmas begins with Christ. That’s kind of the reason we’re doing something extravagant like this- We really want to focus on Christ at Christmas, so there’s going to be worship songs. We want to be like Christ, serve the people that pass by.
The music covers all age groups, from toddlers to adults. There are highly electronic songs that show the extremes of the light display, as well as worship songs.
Visitors can sit in their vehicles, tune to 91.9 on their radio and listen from inside; or they can gather in front of the play of light in garden chairs while the children dance and find joy in the illuminated wonderland.
And there is a rumor, the two pastors said, that Santa Claus and Mrs Claus might make an appearance or two.
âWe hope to continue to build on it. As long as the community continues to emerge, we will continue to develop it, âVanArsdale said.
âWe’ll outdo Clark Griswold at some point,â Burden joked.