Indoor fireworks display delights visitors at St Barnabas, Gloucester

Published: Friday November 17, 2023

A silent fireworks display brought over 400 people to St Barnabas Church in Gloucester on Fireworks Night.

The event – a computer-generated projection show – was organised by husband and wife team Gavin and Naomi Owen, who are part of the Children, Youth and Families team at St Barnabas and members of the PCC.

Gavin Owen says, “Creating our bespoke firework animation, synchronised to a music soundtrack, took me three working days.  I created a publicity image which was posted on social media and expected to do more work to publicise the event but when our Facebook post was shared over 100 times in the first day I realised no more needed to be done.

“On the day, a small team from St Barnabas, including Naomi and site manager, Billy Manvell, set up for the evening event, putting up gazebos for the refreshments and to keep people in the queue dry. Gavin and Howard Williams from Mr H Studio, who provided the AV equipment, set up inside. All of the chairs in the church were moved to clear the floor so that people could sit or recline to watch the display.

“Guests began to arrive about 4pm and the first showing started at 4:30pm. More volunteers from the church had arrived by then to marshall the car park, manage the queue and serve refreshments. It was a great team effort. We had five public performances of the display running up to 6:30pm and then a private performance so that all the volunteers outside could see the display for themselves.”

The event saw over 400 people from the local worshipping community attend, some of whom shared their appreciation on the church’s Facebook page:
Angela Rickaby wrote: “We came as a family of six adults and two children, it was amazing! And so well organised.”

Claire Woodman wrote: “Such a lovely, well organised event. We really enjoyed it. Thank you.”

While Amy Platt shared: “Our little one really enjoyed the silent fireworks and felt very welcomed. What a lovely idea!”

Catherine Milsom, Assistant Curate at St Barnabas, says, “Hosting events like this is crucial to our mission of making the church a welcoming, safe and enjoyable place for all members of our community.

“Many visitors may not have felt comfortable in other settings over the fireworks weekend, so we wanted to ensure that we could offer an inclusive event that catered to their needs. We were delighted with the positive feedback received; we provided a comfortable, safe and enjoyable evening in the beautiful surroundings of St Barnabas Church. This event proved a valuable opportunity to show those who might not see church as a building they would ever consider entering, that it is an open and inviting place where they will know the love of Jesus through the warm welcome they received.

“Some of our guests had expressed concerns about attending church with family members or individuals they care for who have additional needs. Our hope is that after experiencing our indoor fireworks, they will feel assured that our church is a place for everyone to not only find community but also to get to know Jesus.”

Naomi adds, “Our Messy Christmas event this year will give our guests the chance to make a gingerbread stable and nativity scene to take home and enjoy. It should be a fun way to put the focus back on the birth of Jesus.”

Watch a short video of the fireworks display here: https://fb.watch/onc6E6vx5t/

If other churches want to try a similar fireworks display next year, Gavin can provide the video for your use or tips on how to set it up. Email Gavin Owen: ku.em1721431969.newo1721431969@niva1721431969g1721431969

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