Newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan | March 2023 | Volume 67, Number 3
CAROLS AND COOKIES BRING NEIGHBORS TOGETHER
Cecil Cogswell - Church Planter
Cecil and Jayne Cogswell moved to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and didn't know anyone. They invited their neighbors to their home for 'Cookies and Carolling' as a way to get to know them, but they also used it as an opportunity to share the gospel at Christmastime. (Photos by Cecil and Jayne Cogswell)
SARNIA, ONTARIO — A simple act of kindness and opening of a home brought an opportunity to share the Gospel to farm county on the shores of Lake Huron. Cecil and Jayne Cogswell after many years of urban ministry in the Greater Toronto Area (Canada) moved to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. They didn’t know anyone, nor did they have any connections. Once settled in their home and with the Christmas season approaching, the Cogswells wondered ‘what can we do to meet our neighbors?”. The couple decided to extend an invitation to their home for ‘Cookies and Carolling’ in December.. They created an invitation inside a Christmas card – so that their neighbors would receive Christmas greetings and also be invited to a local ‘event’.
With this idea in mind, they shopped some book bargains and obtained the Max Lucado booklet ‘A Love Worth Giving To You At Christmas’, which contains the gospel message. They also purchased a few carolling books. Jayne prepared some goody bags with jars of jellies and candies and the Lucado booklet was included as the guests left.
Thirty three homes received a personal invitation. Neighbors, whom they never met, came to their home for an evening of singing. Cecil presented a gospel message from John 1 with a personal testimony of how Christ changed his Christmas from growing up in an alcoholic home.
There were 20 RSVP’s, but more than 30 people actually attended, including husbands, wives, and children of all ages. Neighbors met each other, some for the first time, and enjoyed each other’s company. Everyone sang and heard about the Light of the World. Jayne said, “The atmosphere was festive and many lingered afterward.”
A simple idea - to meet neighbors – became a wonderful and warm way of introducing the Christ of Christmas. The Cogswells said, ”it is the ‘First Annual’….but next year’s venue will have to be larger.” Cecil said, “It was such an exciting way to reach new people in this tiny hamlet on Lake Huron with the Good News.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cecil Cogswell serves as a church planter in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, where he and his wife, Jayne, partner with The Gathering Church of Windsor, Ontario, part of the Send Detroit Initiative.