published Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Brainerd Baptist hoping to host up to 5,000 at Convention Center celebration

Dr. Robby Gallaty, senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church, said he isn't trying to proselytize but to unite.

With 5,000 seats available at the Chattanooga Convention Center, he'll have lots of room.

Brainerd Baptist will host the third annual Chattanooga Christmas Eve Celebration at 5 p.m. Saturday at the downtown venue.

"We have five services on Sunday at three venues," Gallaty said, "so, one, it's important for the church to come together. Second, we wanted to do something to really unite the community."

The event, celebrating the birth of Christ, has averaged 2,100 people its first two years.

Gallaty said he hopes people without a church home as well as people with a church home but no Christmas Eve service will attend.

Two years ago, he said, a woman named Linda Brown came to the service. Today, she is both a church member and was hired as his administrative assistant.

"We want people to come as they are, to start a new family tradition," Gallaty said. "We think there will be multiple people who go to other churches who will come to this.

His message in the casual, one-hour service will be "The Gift of Grace."

"This is the highlight of the year for me," Gallaty said. "I look forward to these services. I'm looking forward to meeting some new people."

Hot chocolate, apple cider and other snacks will be available for guests, and other treats will be given to children. In addition, each guest will receive a gift bag.

Musicians will be stationed throughout the convention center for the entertainment of guests.

Free parking is available in the center's parking garage.

For more information, visit chattanoogachristmaseve.com or call the church office at 624-2606.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497..

Christmas Eve church services

* Anglican Church of the Redeemer, 1815 McCallie Ave. (Richmont Graduate University), 5 p.m.

* Apison Baptist, 11127 Old East Brainerd Road, 5 p.m.

* Cedar Springs Cumberland Presbyterian, 6665 Old Dunlap Road, Whitwell, Tenn., 3 p.m. CST.

* Chickamauga, 700 W. Seventh St., Chickamauga, Ga., 5:30 p.m.

* Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal, 3:30 (with children's pageant), 6 and 10:30 p.m.

* Church of the Nativity Episcopal, 1201 Cross St., Fort Oglethorpe, 5 and 8 p.m.

* Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist, 4829 College Drive N.E., 6 p.m.

* Daisy United Methodist, 9508 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy, 6 p.m.

* Fairview Baptist, 108 Jenkins Road, Rossville, 7 p.m.

*Falling Water Baptist, 523 Roberts Mill Road, Hixson, 5 p.m.

*First, 401 Gateway Ave., 5:30 p.m.

*First Baptist, 2645 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, 10:45 p.m.

*First Cumberland Presbyterian, 1505 N. Moore Road, 11 p.m.

*First Cumberland Presbyterian, 200 Church St., Cleveland, Tenn., 8 p.m.

*GraceWorks, 6445 Lee Highway, 6:30 p.m.

*Hamilton Anglican Fellowship, 7315 Lee Highway (149 Brookstone Park), 6:30 a.m.

*Hickory Valley Christian, 6605 Shallowford Road, 6 p.m.

*Hixson United Methodist, 5301 Old Hixson Pike, 5 and 10 p.m.

*Jones Memorial United Methodist, 4131 Ringgold Road, 5 and 11 p.m.

*Middle Valley Church of God, 1703 Thrasher Pike, Hixson, 6 p.m.

*Mountain View Christian, 9118 Snow Hill Road, Ooltewah, 6 p.m.

*Northminster Presbyterian, 4791 Hal Drive, 6 p.m.

*Northside Presbyterian, 923 Mississippi Ave., 5:30 p.m.

*Ooltewah United Methodist, 6131 Relocation Way, 11 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m.

*Pilgrim Congregational, 400 Glenwood Drive, 7 p.m. (with Second Missionary Baptist).

*Prince of Peace Lutheran, 14940 Rhea County Highway, Evensville, Tenn., 7 p.m.

*Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian, 115 Morrison Springs Road, 11 p.m.

*St. Alban's Episcopal, 7514 Hixson Pike, 5:30 p.m.

*St. Andrews Reformed Episcopal, 2407 Fairmount Pike, Signal Mountain, 6 p.m.

*St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal, 7555 Ooltewah-Georgetown Road, 5 and 10 p.m. (latter service includes cantata).

*St. Marks United Methodist, 701 Mississippi Ave., 7 p.m.

*St. Martin of Tours, 7547 East Brainerd Road, 5 and 10:30 p.m.

*St. Michael's Charismatic Episcopal, 2330 Hickory Valley Road, 10 p.m.

*St. Paul's Episcopal, 305 W. Seventh St., 4, 6 and 10:30 p.m.

*Sale Creek United Methodist, 14909 Dayton Pike, 5 p.m.

*Second Presbyterian, 700 Pine St., 7 p.m. (lessons and carols).

*Signal Crest United Methodist, 1005 Ridgeway Ave., 5, 7 and 11 p.m.

*Signal Mountain Presbyterian, 612 James Blvd., 5 and 11 p.m.

*Silverdale Baptist, 7236 Bonny Oaks Drive, 5 p.m.

*Silverdale Cumberland Presbyterian, 7407 Bonny Oaks Drive, 6 p.m.

*Soddy United Methodist, 255 Depot St., Soddy-Daisy, 9 p.m.

*South Pittsburg Cumberland Presbyterian, 400 Elm St., South Pittsburg, Tenn., 5 p.m. CST.

*Thankful Memorial Episcopal, 1607 West 43rd St., 10 p.m.

*Tyner United Methodist, 6805 Standifer Gap Road, 5 p.m.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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