October 10, 2012
Detroit, MI—“Hope” is not the first word that comes to mind when you hear “Detroit.” The eroding skyline and cityscape in some ways reflect the heart of many Detroitinites nowadays. Truth be told, Detroit has been a broken city for several decades, recently garnering nationwide attention due to the crumbling US auto industry in light of the Great Recession. Once devoted residents have since moved away; the city has publicly declared its seemingly irreversible financial woes; even a documentary titled “Detropia” analyzes the depth and breadth of Detroit’s decline, which was once the fastest growing city in the US until the 1960’s.
From a general perspective, Detroit was not the most ideal place to hold the 2012 Christmas Cantata finale. However, ironically, Detroit could not have been a better place for it. The same way Jesus Christ was born in a filthy, dirty Bethlehem manger, it felt appropriate that this Cantata could offer hope, peace, and happiness to a city in a painfully similar position.
The Christmas Cantata was held at the famous Masonic of Detroit, one of the top 10 most beautiful theaters in America. Venue management was touched at our mission to bring a small, but powerful dose of hope to the citizens of Detroit that could help change the city for the future. The Masonic itself also felt like a symbol of beauty in the midst of destruction and hopelessness, like an oasis in the desert where one could come to rediscover the hope of life.
IYF received a very low rental rate from the Masonic as a result. The biggest issue was how to fill the hall, which has a capacity of 4,000, for performance night. An assortment of volunteers, comprising Good News Corps members, missionaries, and Good News Detroit Church congregation members walked the streets of Detroit, sometimes in dangerous areas of the neighborhood, to hand out fliers and invite everyone they could meet. Neighbors were amazed at the brightness of our volunteers and how they were devoting themselves to promote this important event.