Saturday December 22, 2012

WESTMINSTER WEST -- The annual Community Candlelight and Carols service at the Congregational Church of Westminster West will be held this Sunday, Dec. 23, at 7 p.m. The family-friendly service, a traditional service of lessons and carols, will be led by the Rev. Susie Webster-Toleno and organist Margit Lilly.

After the choir opens with the introit, a simple and sweet anthem asking "Will We Know Him When He Comes?" the gathered congregation will hear the Christmas story in Old Testament lessons from the prophets along with gospel lessons from Matthew, Luke and John.

In addition, the choir will sing the lush "O Magnum Myserium," by Tomás Vitoria, will lead the congregation in singing the gospel hymn "Jesus! O, What a Wonderful Child!" and will tell the story of the shepherds abiding in the fields sung to the rousing shape-note tune "Sherburne," and "Born ‘Neath the Star" as an offertory anthem. They will reprise the Advent tune "People, Look East" singing the Christmas words. The congregation will get to sing many familiar carols, including "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," and "Come, O Long Expected Jesus," in addition to singing "Silent Night" by candlelight. An offering will be collected to support the church’s work in our community.

Following the service, there will be hot cocoa and cookies for all. The hardiest of the congregation will then go out caroling in the village, while the rest of us share a time of fellowship.

The congregation will gather again on Christmas Eve at 11 p.m. for quieter, more meditative service. This service will provide a pause before the festivities of Christmas, in which worshippers have the opportunity to ponder the significance of the gift of the Incarnation.

The story will be told in scripture and in carols: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," "What Child is This" and "Joy to the World!" Special music will be provided by Kathryn Tolbert, Jenny Holan, Charlotte Gifford and Nick Keil. Worshippers will have the chance to light candles signifying their hopes and prayers, as well as remembering loved ones who have died. The service will conclude with a candlelit "Silent Night," accompanied by Nick Keil on guitar.

For more information, contact Rev. Webster-Toleno at susiewt@gmail.com or 802 579-8356.