The Nativity story was given a uniquely Indonesian makeover at Glen Waverley Uniting Church on the first Sunday of Advent.
During the special Indonesian Christmas Celebration Jesus’s birth was portrayed in a traditional Indonesian tableau by 40 professional dancers from the Ganda Marpaung Group.
The performers, who were a mix of Christians and Muslims, showcased costumes and choreography from different parts of Indonesia.
For example, Mary and Joseph were danced in classical Javanese style.
The attendees also enjoyed a performance of the angklung, a traditional Indonesian instrument, and singing by an a cappella group from Jakarta.
The Free Spirit Choir from the Glen Waverley’s English-speaking congregation performed and combined for several songs with the Indonesian Fellowship Choir.
“It was special in many ways,” said Glen Waverley chairperson Glyn Howells, who was one of the celebration’s main organisers.
“The choirs, the soloists, the singers from Jakarta, the angklung orchestra, the ministers,
“It’s hard to mention all the elements that came together to praise God for the gift of Jesus.
Glyn said the event bought together Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs among other faith traditions.
“Our worship theme this Advent is: ‘Make Room this Christmas’,” Glyn said.
“Those who were at the service experienced first-hand something of the joy, the hope and the wonder brought to us in Jesus by extending the margins of grace.”
Special guests included the Consul General of Indonesia for Victoria and Tasmania Ms Spica Alphanya Tutuhatunewa, City of Monash Deputy Mayor Cr Brian Little and Indonesian leaders from different churches and faiths.
Another special guest, Assembly National Consultant Rev Dr Apwee Ting spoke of Jesus’ call to extend the margins of grace by opening our hearts to those whom we might see as different.
After the celebration, the fellowship continued in the hall with an Indonesian feast.
“This joyful celebration was a reminder that Christmas is for all people, regardless of their culture, language, ethnicity, nationality and faith,” Apwee said.
“People were united in one spirit of generosity and hospitality, providing a space for others and celebrating together with those who are different.”
This was the second Christmas Celebration for the Indonesian Fellowship at Glen Waverley.
In March 2017, Glen Waverley congregation welcomed the Indonesian Fellowship to use the church for their Sunday service at 1pm.
Since then, the relationship between the Indonesian Fellowship and English-speaking Congregation has flourished.