Living Christmas: Tree Sings to Shoppers at Four Seasons Towne Centre

By David Haynes

For many years, Friendly Avenue Baptist Church of Greensboro has presented “The Living Christmas Tree” as a community outreach each December. In June 2016, Pastor Patrick Cronin had a vision to expand the outreach by performing at a local mall. He and Minister of Worship Rob Miller pitched the idea of constructing a “singing tree” to the Four Seasons Towne Centre so the choir could perform in the center of the mall. The idea was to take the music ministry “outside of the walls” of the church. The idea was overwhelmingly accepted by the mall management and a plan was made for the construction of the tree and nine performances were scheduled. 

The excitement generated by the choir, staff and church members grew as they planned this huge undertaking and anticipated how it would be received by the community. An endeavor like this had never been done before, but Pastor Cronin was convinced this would be a ministry outreach that could touch thousands of shoppers in the heart of the Christmas season.

One late Saturday evening while the tree was being constructed, a sudden heart attack took the life of Pastor Patrick Cronin. The devastating news hit the church congregation hard that Sunday morning. But all were in agreement to continue with the Living Christmas Tree in Pastor Cronins’ honor and memory as a testimony and a healing effort for the church. His funeral was held on a Thursday, the first day of the choir’s dress rehearsal on the tree at the mall. Performances were given that Friday, Saturday and Sunday, turning much sadness into joy as the choir presented the “Good News of Christ’s Birth.” Community response was so great the decision was made to continue the tradition.

Friendly Avenue Baptist Church invites you to start your holiday off by enjoying a performance of the Living Christmas Tree at Four Seasons Towne Center. Performances are free and open to the public. Performances are 35 minutes in length:

Friday, December 1
6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 2
3 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Sunday, December 3
3 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 5 p.m.

David Haynes is a member of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church choir.


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