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Special Services for Christmas
Posted on December 05, 2014 at 5:00:52 am by Louisa D.
There’s something about the candles, the decorations, and message that makes a Christmas church service extra special. In Fort Wayne, the City of Churches, there are many Christmas events to attend around the Yuletide season. At Trinity English Lutheran Church, a candlelight service with a Santa Lucia processional will be held on Sunday, December 7. The candlelight prelude begins at 4:00 and the service itself starts at 4:30. This will be a “Lessons and Carols” service, and it will include music from the Children’s, Junior, Youth, and Chancel choirs; Trinity Ringers; Steel Drum ensembles, and the Trinity Recorder Consort. An interesting tradition from Sweden is added to this service, in the form of the Santa Lucia processional. Named after a martyr from the 4th century A.D., Santa Lucia is remembered in Sweden on her birthday, December 13. Families who celebrate the holiday at home welcome a young girl, dressed in white with a wreath on her head, as she brings coffee and pastries to each member of the family before they get up in the morning. The tradition is preserved in this church service by a number of young ladies who dress in the traditional Swedish Santa Lucia costume and file through the aisles of the church. A reception with a Wassail bowl and refreshments will be held in Wagenhals Hall after the service, and it is open to service participants and guests. First Presbyterian Church has a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service that takes place on Christmas Eve. This service, complete with an orchestra in the balcony, is filled with wonderful, traditional music, twinkling Christmas garlands, and a special candlelit moment when all the electric lights are turned off. For just a few minutes, as the congregation sings “Silent Night,” the warm flicker of live candles illuminates the sanctuary in a beautiful, reverent glow. It’s like looking into a Christmas village and seeing its church come to life. From the very front all the way to the back of the hall, small candles shimmer in the hands of each person. It’s amazing how just a group of candles can light up the entire church. As the carol draws to a close, the pungent scent of smoking wicks swirls up and the electric lights bring congregants back – reluctantly – to the modern world. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church offers a children’s service at 7 p.m. and a candlelight service at 11 p.m. St. Paul’s is a comfortable church to explore, from its heavy wooden pillars to the sloped, three-sided balcony. On Christmas Eve, the choir for the 7 p.m. service will be composed of schoolchildren, K-8, who attend St. Paul’s elementary school. A special anthem, written in 1876 by a St. Paul’s teacher, will also be sung during the service. At 11 p.m. lessons and carols are presented with the accompaniment of the adult choir. This late service is also broadcast live on WOWO 1190 AM. Holy Cross Lutheran Church also offers several services on Christmas Eve. Just looking inside the sanctuary is enough to get you into a festive mood. The pine boughs lining the balcony, the tall Christmas trees in front and the golden angels trumpeting over the chancel are lovely. Wreaths and ribbons are everywhere, and there are services that should fit with any busy schedule. At 4 p.m., Holy Cross offers a family service with contemporary, praise band worship. The 7 p.m. service has traditional music, with organ and piano accompanying the singing. At the 11 p.m. service (with communion), congregants are each given a candle to light during the service. And a traditional service is also offered at 9 a.m. on Christmas Day. For each Christmas Eve service, attendees are encouraged to bring along bells – anything that makes a joyous jingle! Everyone rings the bells during the singing of “Joy to the World.” After Christmas day, Plymouth Congregational Church offers the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival on December 28, 29 and 30 at 5:30 and 8 p.m. all three nights. This festival, resplendent with Renaissance-style costumes and music, is truly a treat for the senses. The first Boar’s Head procession was held in 1340 A.D., in England at Queen’s College in Oxford. For Fort Wayne’s service, over 250 musicians and performers are included in the pageant. Be prepared for almost any type of Old English entertainment: a grand procession of the Magi, a live Crèche, and ushers who walk atop the pews to gather a freewill offering – these are just some of the outstanding memories you may take back. The music, of course, is beautiful. A special orchestra, bell choir, and many vocal selections are all performed to perfection. Spotlights bring out the jewel-hued costumes as participants in the spectacle slowly promenade up the aisles of the dimmed sanctuary. The church is always packed out for this event, so pick up your free tickets early. Fort Wayne has plenty to choose from if you’re looking for a unique Christmas celebration. Stop by any of these churches and you’ll be welcome at this special time of year!