Maranatha Christian Reformed Church in Cambridge, Ontario, hosted the Kitchener-Waterloo Glee Team for a concert in early December, raising almost $2,000 and 1,234 lbs of food donations for the local food bank.
“But the intangibles,” said Rev. John Vanderstoep, “the unmeasurables were just as important.”
Members of Kitchener-Waterloo Glee perform. (Photo: Steve Lehmann)
KW Glee, a group of young singers popular in their region, is not a Christian group, and their songs, focusing on life issues that teens face, were not modified for the performance in church. While there were concerns about the propriety of hosting such a concert, Vanderstoep noted that the 76 singers and large crew “are precisely the kind of people we are looking to connect to God through our church.”
According to Vanderstoep, the idea for the event came from a church member with connections in the music industry, who, after seeing KW Glee perform, knew that they could be helpful for connecting with the youth of the neighborhood and to raise funds for the food bank.
“Once the idea was pitched to some key volunteers at Maranatha, and to our courageous leadership council, a plan was born,” Vanderstoep said. Church volunteers provided promotion, set-up, clean-up, elevator and parking lot attendance, and even backstage help for scene changes.
After the concert, Glee cast, crew, and parents were treated to a Christmas dinner and party provided entirely by church volunteers. The response from the audience of 550 and community was very positive.
Rev. Darrell Bierman of River City CRC in Cambridge , whose church partnered with Maranatha in ticket sales, promotion, and volunteering backstage said, “This event has advanced the image of Maranatha in the City of Cambridge by 10 years.”