UK church transforms into Narnia for Christmas to share Gospel

Narnia Experience
An image of Mr. Tumnus at the Narnia Experience at Cornerstone Church in Nottingham, UK. |
An evangelical church in England has transformed its auditorium into Narnia, the magical land spoken of in author C.S. Lewis' novels, in order to share the Gospel during the Christmas season. 

Despite stringent COVID-19 measures in the United Kingdom, the Narnia Experience began Friday at Cornerstone Church in Nottingham and will run through Dec. 29. 

The church is using the story told in Lewis' classic children's book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The auditorium doors are functioning as the doors to the wardrobe and participants who step through are taken to stations that depict the story. Participants are invited to reflect on the way in which the Gospel is told in the story at each Narnia station, according to the church website.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, participants must book times to see it and bookings are reportedly "through the roof," according to Premier News. The church website indicates that the Narnia Experience is "fully booked" Dec. 21-28.

"The world of Narnia is quite broken at the start, it's quite bleak and that's a bit like 2020, but then there's joy and there's hope because Aslan comes and he brings light and resurrection. And we just really wanted to tell that story, to tell the biblical narrative — that there is joy and that is hope — in a creative and really Covid-secure way,” said Kathryn Jackson, who is on staff at Cornerstone, in an interview with Premier.

She added that putting on the exhibit was an act of worship in a time where other forms of worship are being discouraged due to the pandemic.  

“[Be]cause doing acts of worship are not very participatory at the moment, you can't sing, you can't really do very much, we wanted to do something where children could come and have a quite a creative experience of worship,” Jackson said. 

The church added extra days so more could take the Narnia Experience in light of the high level of interest. It was originally scheduled to run from Dec. 18 to 24. 

The United Kingdom has been under heavy COVID restrictions in light of surging virus infections, using a tiered system where some regions are more heavily restricted than others. Scientists warned of a new variant of the virus that is spreading more quickly than others, which resulted in scrapping the hoped-for easing of restrictions. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Sunday that stricter measures would be instituted, tightening rules around household mixing during the Christmas holiday. 

Jackson commented, "Even if you live somewhere where unfortunately there are Tier 4 restrictions, or your Christmas plans have just been thrown into disarray, there is eternal hope and a glorious future awaits and I think that feels quite tangible when you're in there.”

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