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Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Page: 152


Ms HALL (9:40 AM) —Last Friday I was privileged to visit the Sights and Sounds of Christmas, which was presented by the Anglican Parish of Belmont North and Redhead. Sights and Sounds depicted the true story and meaning of Christmas. It presented a vision of Christmas that highlighted the birth of Christ and love and compassion. There was a skit performed by Kath and Kim, and there was a media tunnel. There was a nativity scene and a glimpse of what Christmas is like in Holland. Each scene challenged the commercial and popular media interpretation of Christmas.

I have here a little bit of the extra information about it. Twelve hundred children from various schools in the electorate have visited the Sights and Sounds sessions between 30 November and 3 December. As well as that, about 400 adults have come through. There were 65 volunteers for each session and 28 sessions a day—15 sessions for the public and the rest for schoolchildren. They needed 2,795 volunteers overall. Some of the jobs, of course, were done by the same people in each session. Most of the volunteers came from the parishioners and their families and from some of the other Anglican churches within the diocese. The driving force behind the whole production was the Reverend Maree Armstrong and her husband, Terry Armstrong.

Every schoolchild who left took a take-home bag. Included in that was a colouring sheet; stickers; activity books; craft items, which were butterflies; free tickets to come back at night; individually wrapped sweets; and a thankyou acknowledgment sheet with the service times for carols that would be conducted over the Christmas period.

There were a number of people who contributed to the success of this, and there were many volunteers from the community: Shane Garland from CiviLake; Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club; Coca-Cola; Jewellstown Newsagency; My Bakery at Jewellstown; Lakeside School, which provided a school bus; Lakes Junior Football Club; Kuta Lines; Energy Australia; Newcastle Permanent; Jewellstown Butcher; McCloys; Lake Macquarie City Council; Belmont 16 Foot Sailing Club; Pooh's Place; Young People's Theatre; Julie Black; Richard Payne, with scout tents; Jewells Tavern; Belmont North Brownies; and Hunter Water, which provided some stickers.

This was a true community event. It depicted the true meaning of Christmas and had the support of the whole community. It is these kinds of events that really bring home the message of Christmas and really provide the meaning of Christmas to young people in our community. I congratulate the church on its activities and I commend it to the House.