What Does a Contemporary Universalist Service for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, AND Advent Look Like?

The Universalist Church of West Hartford
Sunday, December 21, 2008 (Winter Solstice, first day of Hanukkah, and the last Advent Sunday before Christmas!)
A Celebration of Light

Carols (in unison; robed choir stands at front of sanctuary):
#233 “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella”
# 239: “Go Tell It on the Mountain”

Words of Welcome (by Rev. Sarah K. Pearson)

Call to Worship: “There’s a Light,” by Beth Chapman

Hymn (in unison; choir proceeds to choir loft): #228 “Once in Royal David’s City”

Lighting of the Advent Candles (by Rev. Sarah K. Pearson)

Affirmation (in unison):
Love is the spirit of this church, and service its law.
This is our great covenant;
To dwell together in peace
To seek the truth in love, and to help one another.

Lighting of the Menorah (by the Morgan family)

Time for All Ages: “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah” (in unison, led by Rev. Sarah K. Pearson)

Reading: “23 Latkes,” by Rus Cooper-Dowda

Musical Offering (by Universalist Church Choir): “Ding Dong! Merrily on High,” 16th cen. French tune

Call to Prayer (in unison): #123 “Spirit of Life”

Silent Prayers

Prayer (by Rev. Jan Nielsen)

Lord’s Prayer (in unison):
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  They kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Offertory (Universalist Church Choir): “A Gaelic Blessing,” by John Rutter

Doxology (in unison):
Praise God for love we all may share,
Praise God for beauty everywhere,
Praise God for hope of good to be,
Praise God for truth which makes us free.
Amen.

Reading (by Rev. Jan Nielsen): “Opening My Presents Early,” by Craig Wilson

Hymn (in unison): #241 “In Bleak Midwinter”

Sermon (by Rev. Jan Nielsen)

Hymn (in unison): #235 “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly”

Benediction (in unison):
Go out into the world in peace,
Have courage,
Hold on to what is good.
Return to no person evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted,
Support the weak,
Help the suffering,
Honor all beings.
–adapted from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians

Postlude (by organist): “Noel,” by Claude D’Aquin

Welcoming Host: Peggy Gray
Greeters: John and Lisa Smith-Horn
Ushers: Peggy Gray and David Arnott, Deacon
Policy Board Member: Scott MacCloy

Church decorations:
American and Connecticut State flags (standard)
Dozens of red and white poinsettia arrangements (donated by various churchmembers)
Advent candle wreath (special for Advent season)
Advent ribbon wreath (special for Advent season)
Two Christmas trees with white lights (special for Advent season)
Two Christmas wreaths (special for Advent season)
Menorah (special for Hanukkah)
Flaming chalice and rainbow banner (standard)
Stained glass Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount, behind pulpit (standard)

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