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“Honest Advent” is an Advent experience based on the artwork of Scott Erickson, and hosted by Collective Church in DeLand and online. The show seeks to invite us into the season of wrestling with the vulnerability of incarnation, the complexity of God with us, and the many emotions we bring into this season, especially this year. 

The art show is free to the public and is housed at the Historic Dreka Theater, 112 E. New York Ave., home of Collective Church in Downtown DeLand. The exhibit is open 1-8 p.m. Dec. 11, 17-19 and 22-23, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24. 

This art show is made possible through the generosity of premier sponsor Quality Quickprint, as well as Cobb Cole, Lankford Funeral Home and 3 Button Media. 

Since the church won’t be getting together in large groups for Christmas Eve services, and it is irresponsible to sing together — meaning no Community Candlelight and no caroling — Collective wanted to offer a safe and socially distanced way for as many people as possible to experience some of the magic and wonder, the depth, reflection and raw honesty of the story and the season. The hope is to have a fully virtual online experience available in mid-December. 

Admission is based on arrival with limited space in the gallery due to COVID safety plans. At high traffic times, there will be a socially distanced cue for entry. 

Expect safety protocols to include: social distancing of at least 6 feet; masks required at all times; sanitizer stations; temperature checks; and regular sanitization in-between. 

For those interested in going deeper with Honest Advent, join church members at 5 p.m. Sundays for weekly Liturgy, and at 6 p.m. for a live Zoom discussion. 

Is God with us in this Christmastime? 

Mosaic Unitarian Universalist Congregation, while not meeting face to face, is meeting online at 11 a.m. every Sunday. The Sunday, Dec. 13, sermon will talk about an “Honest Advent.” 

With racism and injustice of the highest order, a global pandemic killing hundreds of thousands, a disgusting display of political theater and the resulting fissures in democracy, and the conspicuous absence of basic decency; along with earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, wars and rumors of wars; and unemployment, mass evictions and economic collapse, is God with us in this Christmastime? 

Maybe it’s time for an Honest Advent. You’re encouraged to join Ben Collins as he walks everyone through a curated look at some of his favorite pieces from the Honest Advent Art Show by Scott Erickson. A write-up about the art show is above. 

Advent is a season of waiting for God to be born in humanity. Advent is an invitation to move out of our heads and live this season in our bodies. Not “what does art make you think about?” But “how does art make you feel?” 

Worship leader Judy Raymond will guide the congregation through the service. 

For instructions on how to join the virtual service, email to mosaicuuc@ gmail.com. 

Joy at First Pres DeLand 

On Sunday, Dec. 13, Pastor Michael Bodger of First Presbyterian Church of DeLand will turn to a text from the Old Testament for the third Sunday in Advent to mark the theme of joy. In Isaiah 61:1-4 and 8-11, the prophet forecasts the nature of Jesus’ ministry. 

Titled “Greatly Rejoice,” the sermon will focus on Jesus’ use of Isaiah’s words to describe his own ministry; urging people to develop a “right relationship with their God.” 

The dual use of this Scripture calls us to accept the offer of joyful salvation from the living God and then to live into Jesus’ ministry to live our lives. Thus, Isaiah’s words of old become the words of a Christian life today. 

Each Sunday on campus, First Pres has services at 9 a.m. in the fellowship hall in a contemporary mode, and at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary for traditional worship. Both services offer the Lord’s Supper. Published COVID-19 protocols stand for all events on the church campus. 

Online, First Pres also offers both recorded services at www.fpcdeland.org and on Facebook. You’re invited to join in Holy Communion with your own elements at home. 

Despite the pandemic restrictions, church activities continue through Zoom and in person (with precautions) for Bible studies, clarified on the website, Facebook and through the church office. 

That office now has Monday-Friday hours, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m., except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Call ahead from the parking lot at 386-734- 6212 for entry. 

In Advent spirit, the Children’s Discipleship and Student Discipleship Teams present a Drive- Thru Live Nativity 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23, in the front drive circle of the campus off North Woodland Boulevard. With gift bags for the children, this fun, as well as spiritual event, will re-enact the Christmas manger scene to mark the coming of Christ. You’re encouraged to join First Pres in this new tradition. 

The Central Florida Presbytery offers Christmas Break activities for kids by Zoom. Register at www.cfpresbytery.org/upcoming-events. html. This opportunity runs through 10-11:30 a.m. Dec. 28-31, via Zoom. 

First Presbyterian Church wishes all people in the DeLand area a joyous Advent celebration! 

‘Yule: The Winter Solstice’ 

First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand is continuing to host virtual services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to join over Zoom from 10:15 to 10:25 a.m. for greetings before the service begins. 

On Sunday, Dec. 13, the theme will be “Yule,” also known as the Winter Solstice, which marks the longest, darkest night of the year. 


Observed annually on Dec. 21, ancient Celts and Germanic tribes had feasts as symbols of hope that the sun and the warmth would begin to return. 


By the fifth century, Yule became closely associated with Christmas. During this time, mistletoe was collected for its healing properties, and large evergreen trees were cut down, brought inside and decorated with objects that served as gifts for the gods. 


Regular group meetings continue on Zoom: The Book and Poetry clubs each meet monthly, the Covenant Group meets every two weeks, and the Men’s Group meets weekly. 


The church can be contacted through www. uudeland.org to learn more. The Zoom ID for Sunday services is the same every week: Zoom ID: 927 1881 9188. 


Unitarians are an open-minded, open-hearted spiritual community where all are welcomed to learn together. 


Activities at 1st UMC of DeLand 


During all three Sunday-morning services at First United Methodist Church of DeLand, the third Advent candle will be lit. This is the candle of Joy! 


In the publication The Upper Room – Joy, Experienced and Shared, the writer asks these questions: “When was the last time you found it difficult to contain your joy? What did it feel like, in your body and soul, to contain your joy?” 

We are reminded that “rejoicing and prayer come when we are at peace in our communities, when we are encouraging the faint-hearted, when we are helping the weak, and being patient with everyone. What opportunities do you have to help others, be a peacemaker, and offer encouragement this season?” 

Pastors Owen Stricklin and Mark Bitner take turns delivering messages from the Advent sermon series “Characters of Christmas.” On Sunday, Dec. 13, the focus is on “The Character of the Shepherd,” and is based on Luke 2:8-20. In these passages, we read of the shepherds who were in their fields, guarding their flocks of sheep. 

“Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. 

“‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord, has been born tonight in Bethlehem.’” 

Those who wish to see a live Sunday-morning service may continue to view it on the internet. The 8 a.m. drive-in service will continue through December in the parking lot of Building 6 at 111 S. Alabama Ave. 

The in-person 9:30 a.m. contemporary service in the Life Enrichment Center and the 11 a.m. traditional service in the sanctuary are being livestreamed. Those who wish to view online should go to the church website www.Firstchurchdeland. org. Once there, click on “sermon/media” during the time of the service. The services may also be viewed anytime after the hours they are premiered. 

All protocols for in-person worship are followed: Masks are required, and there are temperature checks and social distancing. Hand sanitizers also are used. 

A “Giving Tree” is set up in the sanctuary and also in the LEC, with proceeds going to Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in Enterprise. The donations will be used to purchase gift cards requested by the Children’s Home. The deadline for donating is Dec. 13. 

There will be four Christmas Eve services, two traditional candlelight services in the sanctuary and two family candlelight services in the LEC. Please contact the church and let them know which service you would like to attend; this is requested so that all may attend Christmas Eve services who wish to and still maintain social distancing. Spaces are filling quickly, so contact the church as soon as possible with your preference. The services in the LEC will be at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The services in the sanctuary will be at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. 

The Gift Card Program, under the sponsorship of the United Methodist Men, is available each Sunday morning in the sanctuary and the LEC. This is an opportunity to purchase gifts cards to many businesses and restaurants, which will, in return, refund the church a small percentage of the cost of the gift card. 

The church office is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday- Friday. Call 386-734-5113 for more information.

Christmas Spectacular

Liberty Baptist Church is hosting a family Christmas event. “Christmas Blacklight Spectacular” starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. There will be puppetry, magic and family fun.

The church is at 1263 W. Plymouth Ave. in DeLand. For more information, call 386-717-2417.

Christmas giving

The Rev. Elizabeth Carrasquillo of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand will give the sermon “Christmas Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8:7 at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, in the sanctuary. Masks and social distancing is being practiced. Rev. Carrasquillo can be seen on Facebook at First Christian Church – DeLand Disciples, live or later by clicking on the “video” tab or look on the newsfeed.

The third candle of the Advent wreath, Joy, is being lit during the service. Communion is served for all believers in Jesus Christ.

On Dec. 20, the red mailbox in Narthex will be opened, and all cards will be distributed. Cards can be placed Dec. 13 and before the service Dec. 20. Volunteer Christmas Elves are doing the distribution.

The Disciple Men‘s Breakfast is at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at Hunter’s in Downtown DeLand. Reservations can be made by calling 386-734-6078.

The free Homework Hotspot is 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays,  hosted by Dr. Janet Raney.



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Raised in Miami Beach, Margie moved to DeLand after graduating from Florida State University. She has a master's degree in community mental-health counseling, and retired after 12 years in substance-abuse treatment. Having worked at the DeLand Sun News during the 1980s, Margie came to The Beacon in 2002 in search of a second career. She helps the reporters; compiles obituaries, the calendar of events and religion news; and deals with a mountain of emails each day. Margie is the proud Nana to two grandchildren, Sophia and Alex.


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