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Jobam's picture

Jobam

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What will your Christmas Eve Service(s) be like?

What will your Christmas Eve service be like?  What time will it start?  How many services?  Will you have communion?  If so, how is it servied?  Do you do anything special with the offering from Christmas Eve – like give to charity and/or M&S?  Is the worship service contemporary/regular or both?  Do mostly regulars attend or do they come out of the wood work?  Other than the choir (if you have one) do you pay your soloists?  Do you hire professional musicians/artists?  Is it a candle lite service? Who leads the service - pastor, children, choir?

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somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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This year we will only be having one Christmas Eve service and it will begin at 7PM. It will be a traditional service of carols and readings, led by both ministers. At children's time, each child will be given the gift of a stuffed animal (this has become a bit of a tradition at our church over the past couple of years). We don't do anything special with the offering. Music leadership will be offered by a brass quartet made up of students from the local university (each musician will be given an honourarium). The lights will be on for most of the service, but will be turned out at the end as we leave singing "Silent Night." 

 

Communion will not be offered on Christmas Eve, but it will be offered on Christmas Day. The Christmas Day service will be fairly low-key - an open invitation to share Christmas memories, favourite carols will be sung and a First Nations woman will offer a local First Nations perspective on the Christmas story. It will be followed by a potluck Christmas lunch.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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This is one of the first years that I don't know the answers to those questions.

 

I am, at this point, planning on going, so will let you know afterwards

DKS's picture

DKS

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Two services; a family service at 7:00 PM and a communion service at 10:00 PM. The service is led by the usual ngang of suspects. We are blessed with some very talented musicians in the congregation, so I expect they will do their usual excellent job.

Mendalla's picture

Mendalla

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My UU fellowship isn't doing anything this year (it comes and goes depending on willingness and availability of people to do it). For me personally, if I go to church it'll likely be Wesley-Knox United which offers a wonderful Christmas Eve family service that attracts quite a crowd (500+ last year per their website)..

 

Mendalla

 

Jim Kenney's picture

Jim Kenney

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A 7pm service with lessons, carols and choir.  A 11 pm service with soloist, violinist, communion and candle-lighting.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Jobam wrote:

What will your Christmas Eve service be like?  What time will it start?  How many services?  Will you have communion?  If so, how is it servied?  Do you do anything special with the offering from Christmas Eve – like give to charity and/or M&S?  Is the worship service contemporary/regular or both?  Do mostly regulars attend or do they come out of the wood work?  Other than the choir (if you have one) do you pay your soloists?  Do you hire professional musicians/artists?  Is it a candle lite service? Who leads the service - pastor, children, choir?

We don't have a Christmas Eve service at my Baptist church.

 

I would like to find a Christmas Eve service to go to. I'd like it to start around 7pm, offer communion, use candles in some capacity, and have some good music. Either traditional- or contemporary-style is okay.

 

Rich blessings.

 

Update: We will be attending a candlelight service at a United Church here in Toronto. Communion will be served.

chemgal's picture

chemgal

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I don't think I have ever been to a Christmas Eve service.  For those who do go, does anyone do a big dinner on the same night?  How do you fit the two together?

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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You don't. It is very difficult.

RitaTG's picture

RitaTG

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Our family has always attended a Christmas eve service....

My mother started something when we were young to encourage us to go to the Christmas eve mass (we were Catholic).

She would make pizza dough and get all the toppings ready ...... we would go to church .... and when we came home we would make individual pizzas with all the toppings we wanted.

Oh how we looked forward to that and our good behaviour was required smiley.

We kept that tradition with our family and we still do it to this day....

Quirky perhaps but we look forward to it...smiley

Regards

Rita

Jim Kenney's picture

Jim Kenney

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Our Christmas Eve dinner would be fit in around the services I was doing.  Sometimes it was early when the Christmas Eve services were close together.  Some years it was after the service. One year, when I was serving a church 150 km away from home, everyone else ate while my brother and I went out to do the service, and we ate when we got home about 11:00 pm.  This year it will be early.  Our traditional Christmas Eve meal is lemon chicken, rice and Ceasar Salad.  If my children who are here decide to come to the midnight service, we will drive.  If they don't I might walk home to honour what I and my brother and sister did many years ago every Christmas. My father would put out the Christmas presents while we were at the midnight service.  I should be able to walk home in less than an hour.

 

naman's picture

naman

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On Dec. 23 we are booked to arrive at the Sandos Playacar Mayan Riviera Hotel near Cancun, Mexico with a family group.

 

 We all call ourselves Christians and the Christmas Eve Service for us will be a case of wait and see.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Wow Naman - have a wonderful time away with family

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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Have a wonderful Christmas with family. You will have real pointsettas

Panentheism's picture

Panentheism

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Always went or led the late service - 11 pm - with communion.  At times had two earlier services.

Being swedish we had our christmas meal, after midnight and then on Christmas day with the larger family.    When my sons were in university and  had other christmas events to go to, we had prime rib before the 11 service.  It was only later when we moved that I had 3 services.  Now only the late communion.

Panentheism's picture

Panentheism

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By the way if there is no communion service to go to on christmas eve I pass.

carolla's picture

carolla

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A couple of years ago we moved our 'family service' to 5pm (rather than 7pm).  Seems to work well - church, then home for dinner. 

 

Our late service at 10pm is usually candlelight, communion, more meditative with excellent music.

 

People usually attend one or the other; it's great to see lots of the youth home from university etc. coming out to say hello to everyone.

 

We put a big portable signboard on the church lawn for 3 weeks in Dec. advertising our services, including the candlelight service on Dec. 16.   It does attract attention, and we see a number of new faces from our local community.  

kaythecurler's picture

kaythecurler

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A check with friends and the newspaper helped me discover that only one of the local churches has publically announced a Christmas Eve service.  As a friend pointed out "They hold their services in a foreign language so likely you wouldn't go there anyway".  One church is actually closed for three weeks over Christmas (clergy holday?).

 

Maybe most congregations are having Christmas eve services but didn't advertise the fact?

 

Didn't hear, or see, any information about Christmas Day services either.

 

Thinking back to the 70's I recall lots of church related information in the newspaper.  The various denominations had paid advertisements showing  service times. 

 

I wonder what this is showing me - churches no longer think these days of the Church year are relevant to their faith?   They are so short of funds that they can't afford to pay for an ad in the paper?  They keep quiet about it as the Christmas eve/day service is purely for those who regularly attend? 

 

Our family uses lots of candles during this time - peace, hope, love and joy, for sure.  Also candles in memory of those family members who are no longer with us.  One grandchild has already chosen the special candle holder for the light of his classmate who died accidently earlier this year. 

 

Wishing everyone a joyful and safe celebration of light wherever you may be and however you choose to mark the day.

Jobam's picture

Jobam

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HI..this is more info than most of you will want to know.  My mother was organist at our church for over 50 years, thus I went to church on Christmas Eve – I have been at the same church for Christmas Eve for 54 years (as of yesterday – lol).  We have had different clergy over the years and have tried a few things but mostly the service consists of scripture and carols…..guest soloists, kids are always a big part.…..for those of us involved in the planning pretty much the same every year…..as most UCC’s, it’s the biggest crowd we get so we like to “pump” it up a bit.  I always think that if this is people’s first impression of our church what a letdown it would be if they started coming every Sunday (that’s another thread sometime”).  Anyway, we have used power point for years and have been able to incorporate many things into the services overhe years…but the format is pretty much the same – we try to keep it no more than an hour sometimes but the Carol sing can put us over the mark.

Part of our church tradition is to have the offering, which is the largest of the year, go towards M&S.  This is the way it’s always been and it works for us.  Locally we may struggle but we do have an obligation to the wider church and for us this is something we can do above our regular M&S giving’s…… 

I am with Naman – once we are able to travel at Christmas my partner and I will go away for Christmas – most likely a cruise.  Both my folks are gone, and my partner’s dad is close by so we want to make sure we are here for Christmas……my mother’s side of the family is in Toronto (300 miles away) so we don’t do Christmas with them – my dad’s side (his brother had 8 kids) we used to go there for Christmas dinner – with grandkids etc they are up to about 40 for dinner – that was my tradition.  However, since I got married to my “male” partner these folks have made it pretty clear that they don’t want us around.  Some do, but it is way to uncomfortable to go – been there and got the t-shirt.  One Christmas a couple of years ago, one relative was calling asking us not to go because they were afraid of what we might to in front of the kids……etc…my tolerance for fundamentalists as dwindled over the years (another thread..lol). 

So, it will be the same “old” service for me – same message that it has been forever regardless of format…..and going home to ourselves….which is not a bad thing but my faith doesn’t need the Christmas Eve service (it’s always been for others anyway – playing, and/or helping to organize…etc…etc..etc).  So taking off and doing something on Christmas Eve that is completely different is something to look forward to…I will miss my church family but hey – some will be there the week after – then we are back to the norm….

After the rambling above, I have come up with a question – most fundamentalists churches in my area don’t have a Christmas eve service nor do anything on Christmas day (unless it falls on a Sunday) – why is that?  I am thinking it’s because they are family focused – just a guess.  Is it a UCC tradition to have a Christmas Eve Service?

chemgal's picture

chemgal

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My Uncle was a minister in another church.  It was fairly conservative, I don`t know if it was considered to be fundamentalist or not.  When we spent Christmas with them, it was always a little hectic.  I can`t recall if it was Christmas Eve (but not actually the evening), day or both.  It may have depended on the congregation as there were a few over the years.

carolla's picture

carolla

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Interestingly, Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto holds its Christmas Eve service at Roy Thompson Hall - it's a ticketed event - $25 which I suppose represents the offering.  It is always sold out.

DKS's picture

DKS

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kaythecurler wrote:

They are so short of funds that they can't afford to pay for an ad in the paper? 

 

That is usually the reason churches don't use tombstone ads in newspapers. We do, though.

Jobam's picture

Jobam

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  • Christmas Eve

Monday, December 24, 2012

Each year MCC Toronto celebrates Christmas with their Annual Christmas Eve Service, at Roy Thomson Hall.

Performance Time

10:30pm, Doors open at 9:30pm

Location

Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street Toronto, ON

Box Office Information

Roy Thomson Hall, Phone: 416-872-4255 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 416-872-4255 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Box Office Hours (in-person)

Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm
Sat: 12pm-5pm
Sun & Holidays: 3 hours prior to performance

Box Office Phone Line Hours

Mon-Fri: 9am-8pm
Sat: 12pm-5pm
Sun & Holidays: 3 hours prior to performance

Ticket Information

Tickets will be available starting in November.

 I am thinking that the $25.00 is to cover the rental of the hall.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Jobam wrote:
 I am thinking that the $25.00 is to cover the rental of the hall.

 

Jobam, I am thinking that it's sad that a church feels the need to charge ticket prices for a worship service.

 

Charging for a church concert, cantata, or drama I think is okay. They are special events. However, followers of Christ are told in the Bible to not stop meeting together. God expects us to regularly attend worship services. Taking that into consideration, and adding the consideration that not everyone can afford ticket prices, I seriously question any church charging for attendance.

 

Rich blessings.

carolla's picture

carolla

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Jae - this is an expected comment.  It is one event - and a massive one, and a special event.   Do you know anything about MCC?  It's a huge congregation, extremely inclusive and active in the community - way more so than many other churches. They have multiple services every Sunday - because their sanctuary is packed with hundreds of people. They also broadcast their services - at no cost to listeners - you might find it interesting to tune in.  Nobody's telling anyone to "stop meeting together"!!

GordW's picture

GordW

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Actually I agree with Jae.  You simply should not charge admission to a worship service.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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carolla wrote:
Jae - this is an expected comment.  It is one event - and a massive one, and a special event.

 

Then it should be billed as such, carolla, and not as a "service."

 

Quote:
 Do you know anything about MCC?

 

Yes, I know somethings about it.

 

Quote:
 It's a huge congregation, extremely inclusive and active in the community - way more so than many other churches. They have multiple services every Sunday - because their sanctuary is packed with hundreds of people. They also broadcast their services - at no cost to listeners - you might find it interesting to tune in. 

 

All of which sounds wonderful, none of which means they are a perfect church. Indeed there are no perfect churches.

 

Quote:
Nobody's telling anyone to "stop meeting together"!!

 

Except that poor people without money to buy the tickets will be shown the door. This should not be a part of anyone's experience in seeking a Christian service to attend on Christmas Eve.

 

Rich blessings.

somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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GordW wrote:

Actually I agree with Jae.  You simply should not charge admission to a worship service.

 

I do too. If you, as a congregation, cannot afford  the hall rental without charging admission, then find somewhere else to hold the services - somewhere that you can afford. Take up a free will offering and do with it whatever you would normally do with such an offering.

carolla's picture

carolla

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so - is it semantics, at one level?  If it was called a Christmas Eve Celebration, would there be the same reaction? 

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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If you have a wonderful service that people want to come to, but, to the point where the attendance is so much that you can't fit......so you think, well, we could go to a bigger hall, but would have to pay rental for it......what would you do?  I think it is fine to put a charge on the ticket as long as you have some to give away...or can waive the fee.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Pinga wrote:

If you have a wonderful service that people want to come to, but, to the point where the attendance is so much that you can't fit......so you think, well, we could go to a bigger hall, but would have to pay rental for it......what would you do?  I think it is fine to put a charge on the ticket as long as you have some to give away...or can waive the fee.

You have a good idea there Pinga when you suggest the waived fee.

 

A church I have attended a few times in the past sold tickets for some special services and events with a "suggested donation" as a price. I thought that was fine. They were requesting donations, but people could give as they felt led and were able. The tickets could be obtained in advance online, for free or for cost, so everyone getting their ticket online came to the door with the same kind of ticket, and it wasn't really known who had payed what. Any remaining tickets were available at the door, again at the "suggested donation" price. The tickets were really used to ask people for a donation if possible for them to give, and as a way of counting participant numbers.  

 

Rich blessings. 

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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carolla wrote:

so - is it semantics, at one level?  If it was called a Christmas Eve Celebration, would there be the same reaction? 

That's a good question carolla.

 

There wouldn't be the same reaction from me unless I visited one of their usual services and then the event in question and discovered that the event  truly was just a re-named service.

 

What is happening at any event is at least as important if not more so than what name it goes by.

 

Rich blessings.

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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I also agree that a church service shouldn't charge.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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crazyheart wrote:

I also agree that a church service shouldn't charge.

Thank you GordW, somegal, and crazyheart for the support.

 

crazyheart -- wow, we actually finally just agreed on something.

 

Maybe the world as we knew it has come to an end.

 

Rich blessings.

northstar's picture

northstar

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our church has 2 Christmas eve services one at 7:00pm is a family service and one at 9:30 which is a candle light service and communion is served.  As foe advertising we are on Facebook  look up Heart Lake United Church  it is in Brampton Ontario it is the most open and friendly church you could attend.  My children and I started going to the family service now they are older we go to the candle light service.  It is part of their Christmas gift to me,  This year should be interesting this time we are taking my 88 year old mother.

carolla's picture

carolla

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That will be nice northstar to have three generations together.

Beloved's picture

Beloved

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RitaTG wrote:

She would make pizza dough and get all the toppings ready ...... we would go to church .... and when we came home we would make individual pizzas with all the toppings we wanted.

 

What a wonderful tradition.  If I had a young family I would certainly copy that :)

 

Beloved's picture

Beloved

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Our Christmas Eve service will be held at 7 p.m. and it will be family/children friendly.  There will be carols and readings and my guess is a children's time and a short sermon.  There may be some special music, but I'm not sure.  There will not be communion - we actually had communion today in our morning service.

 

We used to give our open plate (anything in an envelope directed to local givings must be given as specified) to M&S years ago but I think the present board has changed that.

 

The pastor will lead the service but others will share in the leadership in readings and special music.  Other than our organist no one will be paid for special music.

 

There will be many regulars, but there will also be visiting family members from out-of-town as well as a few who come only on Christmas Eve.

 

When my family leaves the service we will drive around for a bit looking at Christmas lights.

 

Then we will come home, put on our jammies, perhaps have a hot cup of eggnog and a bed-snack and then head off to bed.

 

 

 

everinjeans's picture

everinjeans

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Just want to say I'm glad I don't have to buy a ticket to go to Church.  If purchase were an on line thing, or involved standing in a wait line, I might NEVER get to church!  I'll attend an 11 p.m. service and partake in communion.  Whatever I can do in the waiting, watching and preparing for Christmas Day.  Blessings all.

somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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Welcome Everinjeans! At least there's no admission fee to enter this site! wink

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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Hi, everinjeans. As you notice, Jae and I agreed on something. It took awhile but ts the magic of WonderCafe. Welcome to the Cafe.

carolla's picture

carolla

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Smiling at your comment everinjeans - welcome aboard!  Sometimes that organizing ahead of time is a challenge isn't it??  Merry Christmas to you.

DKS's picture

DKS

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crazyheart wrote:

I also agree that a church service shouldn't charge.

 

I have always felt there is a reasonable argument for pew rents, however.

Jim Kenney's picture

Jim Kenney

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Many synagogues and some Alliance churches have annual family membership fees.  The Alliance church in one small rural community had a family membership fee of about $1800/year.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Yup, mennonite family that i knew also had a financial advisor on how much they should give to the church.  They have been very active and it is a solid church.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Jim Kenney wrote:

Many synagogues and some Alliance churches have annual family membership fees.  The Alliance church in one small rural community had a family membership fee of about $1800/year.

 

This I find problematic as well Jim, as it excludes people who don't have enough cash from becoming members.

 

I don't think that membership in a church should be ever be based at all on how much money people have. If there are to even be membership fees, perhaps a better idea would be to base them as a certain percentage of each individual's income, rather than as a specific set amount. I realize that system no doubt has flaws of its own, but I do see it as being a better alternative.

 

Rich blessings.

Mendalla's picture

Mendalla

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MC jae wrote:

Jim Kenney wrote:

Many synagogues and some Alliance churches have annual family membership fees.  The Alliance church in one small rural community had a family membership fee of about $1800/year.

 

This I find problematic as well Jim, as it excludes people who don't have enough cash from becoming members.

 

I don't think that membership in a church should be ever be based at all on how much money people have. If there are to even be membership fees, perhaps a better idea would be to base them as a certain percentage of each individual's income, rather than as a specific set amount. I realize that system no doubt has flaws of its own, but I do see it as being a better alternative.

 

Rich blessings.

 

I'd say it's the better alternative but you'll still have to make adjustments. A 10% tithe is going to be a lot more painful for someone with a gross of $15000 than it is for someone with a gross of $70000. The higher income person will feel it, but it won't (or shouldn't, if they are managing their money well) be a choice between going to church and feeding the kids.

 

In the end, I think voluntary tithing is the way to go. Encourage people to give a level that is both meaningful and feasible for them. I know when we had a minimum gift for members to be able to vote (and I don't think we do anymore) it was something fairly nominal like $10 a year and even that was too much for some whose families were facing a crisis.

 

Mendalla

 

Jobam's picture

Jobam

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Back to the service....(grin)

Our Sunday service had communion with our Minister and his wife serving the elements.....was wonderful - first time in my life that has happened.....congregation loved it.

Our Christmas Eve service was wonderful - people loved it - I was at the church from 530 p.m. on.....service started at 7:00 p.m.

Told my partner, next year - 2013 - we are going to MCC for Christmas Eve and then on a trip to celebrate Christmas (travling to destination on Christmas day).  It will to somewhere warm......

 

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Jobam wrote:
... then on a trip to celebrate Christmas (travling to destination on Christmas day).  It will to somewhere warm......

 

That sounds wonderful Jobam.

 

Maybe I will take my partner (wife) on a Christmas trip too. Somewhere warm would be nice. I saw the Disney parade this morning. It might be fun to go there. I imagine Disney World is crammed with people at Christmas time though.

 

Rich blessings. 

somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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Our Christmas services were wonderful. The 7PM service was a little less traditional than it usually is - in addition to the scriptures we had people come up and speak from some of the characters' perspectives: Joseph and Mary were two young adults in the congregation, and we had a shepherd and the inn keepers wife. The quartet - two trumpets and two trombones - played in a style reminiscent of The Canadian Brass. We also had a vocal soloist. I was asked to help with both the lighting and the greeting/offering, which I enjoyed doing.

 

This was the first year that we did not have a late service at our church, so I went to another United Church in town instead. I really love attending late services as I find they give me a sense of peace and tranquility that I simply do not get from a family service. It was a very traditional service of carols, scriptures and communion and it was led by a group of youth and young adults from that congregation. It was quite beautifully done.

 

This morning I was back at my own church for a Christmas Day service. We were a small crowd - only 33 of us - but we were mighty in spirit! It was a somewhat informal service of carols, story telling, communion and scriptures. We all processed into the church, led by a member of the local First Nations who was drumming as we sung "The Huron Carol." The service was followed by a delicious potluck meal. Mmmmm....

DKS's picture

DKS

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MC jae wrote:

I don't think that membership in a church should be ever be based at all on how much money people have. If there are to even be membership fees, perhaps a better idea would be to base them as a certain percentage of each individual's income, rather than as a specific set amount. I realize that system no doubt has flaws of its own, but I do see it as being a better alternative.

 

There are some churches who require you to produce your last tax return and you are them assessed your titihe based on your gross income.

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