With Regent’s Help, CBN Delivered a Yuletide Gift to Hampton Roads
During two weekends in December, Regent’s campus was beautifully transformed into a European Christmas Village. The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) sponsored the inaugural holiday showcase, which was free and open to the public. CBN constructed a truly special place for local families to create lasting Christmas memories.
“Because the people of Hampton Roads have been so supportive of our work, we wanted to give something back to the community,” CBN Vice President Michael Stonecypher explains. “Most people probably don’t realize that 90 percent of CBN’s charitable efforts are focused overseas. But we couldn’t do what we do in other parts of the world without the support of people here.”
Thousands and thousands of bright Christmas lights and stunning decorations greeted guests as they arrived at the Regent Mall (the area between the Library and Communication building). The CBN Christmas Village also featured a live nativity scene and Santa’s Cottage, with a real-life St. Nick and his elves inside. Both structures were built from the ground up by the talented CBN Scenic Department.
Guests also saw the area’s largest Christmas tree. Other sights and attractions included carolers, toy soldiers, amusement rides, horse-drawn carriages, free apple cider and cookies, dozens of Christmas-themed vendors, model trains, and much more. Hundreds of staff, volunteers, vendors, and first responders made the event possible.
CBN’s President and CEO Gordon Robertson, son of Regent Founder, Chancellor and CEO, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson, was the driving force behind the six days and 30 hours of Christmas merriment. He got the idea in 2017, while filming a documentary in Dresden, Germany, where a popular Christmas market has been part of Yuletide celebrations since 1334, almost 700 years ago.
While Gordon was still in Dresden, Stonecypher received a phone call that would set everything in motion: “Gordon was so excited by the atmosphere and the joyful feeling that he found there. He said, ‘I would love for CBN to do something to bring this experience to the people of Hampton Roads!’ … At first, we wondered if we should wait a few years or commit ourselves immediately to bringing it to life.”
Just one year later, thousands of Christmas revelers were able to celebrate the real “Reason for the Season” in a unique and unapologetically Christ-centered way. The entire Regent community was thrilled to play a role in the start of this wonderful Christmas tradition, one that Stonecypher hopes will continue for years to come.
“We’re already looking forward to 2019,” he says. “We want the next CBN Christmas Village to be even bigger than this year’s celebration with more attractions, activities and more opportunities to participate. We’ll take what we learned, add to it, and once again do our best to share the true meaning of Christmas with the Hampton Roads community.”