What does 1941 have in common with 2020? Quite a lot, according to the folks at Lavender Bay. In lieu of hosting a traditional carols event this weekend, they are planning to perform the first play in the wartime radio drama series The Man Born to Be King, written by Dorothy L. Sayers. 

“We didn’t think we could sing carols so we came up with a way to engage people with the nativity story,” says the Rev Lachlan Edwards of Christ Church, Lavender Bay. “Jo Kadlecek, a member of our church, came up with the idea of a radio play, written in 1941, commissioned by BBC Radio to encourage people to turn to Christ.” 

What does 1941 have in common with 2020?

According to Mr Edwards, there’s quite a lot in common between the period of World War II, our time and the time into which Jesus was born.

“You’ve got Jesus, being born into quite a tumultuous political time; 1941 was an uncertain political time; 2020 is an uncertain social time. [We are] helping people to bring the joy of Jesus' birth in tumultuous times.” 

The name Dorothy Sayers is a well-known one for many readers. An English novelist and playwright, she authored many crime novels, poems and plays, including The Man Born to Be King. It is a series of 12 radio dramas, produced by the BBC in 1941 and 1942, that encouraged people to turn to Christ amid the war. Christ Church, Lavender Bay is performing the first play in the series: Kings of Judea. 

A ticket for a tin 

Members of the community are welcome to come along and participate in the radio play for a literal tin of beans, or soup or long-life milk. Christ Church is using this opportunity to collect items for Anglicare’s Toys ’n’ Tucker – the annual Christmas appeal for food items and toys given to those who call on Anglicare for help. 

“I love to see Christians being creative,” says the Rev Michael Aitken, Anglicare Sydney’s partnership development officer for the Northern Region. “What an excellent combination of gospel witness and practical help this Christmas.”

Mr Edwards says the community is familiar with Christ Church collecting for Anglicare. After a wonderful community contribution to the Winter Appeal, he hopes they will be able to multiply that effect and collect even more for those in need through this play.

He adds that there is lots to be praying for in the lead-up to the event. “Pray for the actors as they speak those words, for people to sign up to book a seat for the live event and to bring a contribution to Toys ’n’ Tucker.

“We are praying that people in our community who have only had a fleeting engagement with Christ Church, Lavender Bay previously might find this as a next opportunity to come into the church. And then, through the Dorothy Sayers play, they might be confronted by the reality of Jesus’ birth in a tumultuous era.” 

Find more information about the performances here.