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GIFT CARDS — From left, Starke Elementary School teachers Anika Hudak, Dashia Haws, Lisa Kolmetz and Buffy Snipes hold up gift cards donated by St. Annis Primitive Baptist Church in DeLand. PHOTO COURTESY LIZBET VILLA

Trinity United Methodist Church in DeLand will present Candlelight Concerts at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 17 and 18. The concerts feature the church’s Chancel Choir, who will be singing the Christmas musical Darkness Into Light by Mary McDonald.

This is a free event, but seating is limited, and tickets are required. Call 386-734-4425 or come by the church office 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday to get your tickets. The church is at 306 W. Wisconsin Ave.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, Trinity United Methodist will host a Christmas-cookie decorating event and Nativity tour. Bring your Christmas cookies that need to be decorated, and the church will provide the sprinkles, icing, etc., to help you make your cookies festive. This will be a fun time to fellowship and spend time together while decorating cookies.

Also, during this time, several Nativity scenes will be set up for you to tour and enjoy. The Nativity sets belong to members of Trinity and show a wide range of traditions. This is a free event open to the public.

Annual Cookie Walk at St.Jude’s Episcopal

St Jude’s Episcopal Church, at 815 E. Graves Ave. in Orange City, is hosting its annual Cookie Walk 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 18. Most cookies will be sold for $7 a pound; others will be marked.

Get all your homemade cookies for the holidays! Makes a great Christmas gift!

Call 386-775-6200, or visit www.stjudescentralflorida.org.

Live Nativity and Candlelight Christmas Eve Service

Community United Methodist Church, at 41 W. Highbanks Road in DeBary, will have a Live Nativity 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, and Friday, Dec. 24. The biblical story of the birth of Jesus will be portrayed by church members. Children will have the opportunity to pet live animals.

Cookies, hot cocoa and coffee will be served outside of the fellowship hall.

A Candlelight Christmas Eve Service will be at 5 p.m.

‘What Is Love?’

On Sunday, Dec. 19, First Presbyterian Church of DeLand will mark the final theme of Advent, called “love.” Throughout Advent, the church has explored hope, peace and joy, as Christians await the awesome celebration of the birth of the Christ child.

In his sermon, Pastor Michael Bodger will ask, “What Is Love?” to provoke listeners to contemplate how to explain love as best we can. Given our humanness, we ineptly attempt to comprehend God’s love as well as other aspects of God’s nature. Such attempts, however, fail because our human love remains conditional.

1 John 4:9, declares, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

In the Book of Romans 8:38-39, we hear assurance that “nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ!” Thus, “God … Is Love.”

First Pres has special events planned to commemorate this Advent and Christmas season.

First, the community is invited to First Pres’s monthly Third Saturday Outdoor Evening Worship at 4 p.m. Dec. 18. Bring a chair, and worship with contemporary music and fellowship, and hear Katie Rives, pastoral assistant, speak on “Gifts.”

First Pres has resumed the schedule of three Sunday services, at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

On Sunday, Dec. 19, the 9 a.m. service will also take place outdoors to observe the fourth Advent week. You’re encouraged to join the fellowship and bring a chair. The 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. services will occur in their usual locations.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22, the Youth Ministry will present a Live Nativity Scene on the front lawn of the church. Vehicles can enter the circle drive from the north on Woodland Boulevard. All are welcome, especially children, to view the Bethlehem characters, the stable animals and the visiting Wise Men.

First Pres will celebrate Christmas Eve with two services: Outdoors, a candlelight contemporary service will begin at 4 p.m. (Bring a chair.) In the sanctuary, an organ program will begin at 6:15 p.m. with worship, followed at 6:30 p.m. by special Christmas music and readings. This candlelight service will conclude with the community singing “Silent Night.”

A single service Sunday, Dec. 26, will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary with a sermon, Communion and carols to continue the Christmas spirit.

1st Christian Church activities

The guest in the pulpit at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, is Pastor Carlos Perez, a Disciple pastor who served Arise Christian Church in Orlando for seven years and who received a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.

In January 2022, Pastor Perez will be fully ordained in the denomination, with his wife, Vanessa, and three children, Valeria, Marcos and Eduardo, all celebrating.

Currently, he is a member of Iglesia Cristiana de Deltona.

Others serving during the Dec. 19 worship service are Kathy Porr, Eddie Wachter, the Rev. Fernando Morales and Olga Palmer.

Later in the day, at 3 p.m., the Disciple Women will meet for their annual cookie exchange and packing for shut-ins. The Disciple Women, under the leadership of Sue Brague, are adopting Oak Manor as an outreach project for 2021-22. This is in addition to their other projects — The Bridge, Grace House, HOPE and children/youth camp scholarships.

Folks who are interested in doing some Christmas caroling will gather at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, in the church parking lot, and will then go caroling at several sites.

Glenwood Presbyterian activities

Glenwood Presbyterian Church will have a Community Christmas Frolic 5:30-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19. The public is invited to a Christmas celebration with a bonfire, music, hayrides, hot dogs, s’mores and more.

The Longest Night service is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21. This candlelight service is for those who have lost loved ones.

There will be a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7 p.m. Dec. 24, with a Live Nativity at 6:30 p.m.

The church is at 3190 Grand Ave. in DeLand.

Ordinary joy

On Sunday, Dec. 19, the Program and Worship Committee at First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand will present a joyful service to help spark the joy in you.

“Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.” This quote from Howard Thurman reminds us that joy is always available, always around the corner waiting patiently to be experienced.

What brings you joy today? In these challenging times, are you remembering joy? Take a few moments in this often-stressful season to remember your joy and peace.

Zoom services continue until further notice. These virtual services begin at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. The Zoom ID is the same every week: Zoom ID: 927 1881 9188.

Unitarian Universalists are an open-minded, openhearted spiritual community where all are welcomed to learn together. They participate in Interfaith Kitchen and other community projects.

The church may be contacted through www.uudeland.org to learn more.

Christmas activities at St. Barnabas Episcopal

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, at 319 W. Wisconsin Ave. in DeLand, will have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, with a Family Eucharist in the church’s nursery. Choral music will be played at 10:30 p.m., followed by a Festive Choral Eucharist at 11 p.m.

A Christmas Day Holy Eucharist will be at 10 a.m.

For more information, call 386-734-1814 or visit stbarnabaschurchdeland.org.

‘God Is at Work in Our Lives’

The bells are ringing, carols are playing, and everywhere you go there is a sense of joy and expectation as the Christmas holiday draws ever nearer.

First United Methodist Church of DeLand continues to celebrate the news announced by the angels long ago, proclaiming the glad tidings of great joy: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”

The sermon series this Advent season is “Christmas Isn’t Canceled!” And, of course, we know that not even pandemics or world unrest can cancel the true meaning and the heart of the Christmas season.

This Sunday, Dec. 19, the focus will be on “God Is at Work in Our Lives.” God has promised that, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” What a great sense of peace and comfort this promise brings, as we embrace it in our daily lives. You’re encouraged to take part this Sunday as members and friends of First United Methodist explore this topic together.

The church will also be hosting a special Blue Christmas service for those who are experiencing a sense of loss or loneliness during this holiday season. This service will be at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, in the sanctuary.

On Christmas Eve, First United Methodist will offer three services: a traditional service at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary, and a family service at 5:30 p.m. in the Life Enrichment Center. This year’s family service will be Grinch-themed.

If you’d like to get connected to a small group for fellowship and sharing, call the church office at 386-734-5113.

Joy to the World! A Christmas Cantata

Lighthouse Christ Presbyterian Church in Ormond Beach will present Joy to the World! A Christmas Cantata in two performances, at 10:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19.

Performing will be the Sanctuary Choir, with special soloists Solisti Christmas String Quartet with harpsichord, the JuBellation Handbell Choir and Dr. Michael Rickman on organ and piano.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Foley will lead the service and narrate, and Susan Pitard Acree will direct.

Music to be performed will include choral, vocal and instrumental works of well-known and beloved favorites of the season by classical and modern composers, including Handel, Corelli and John Rutter.

The church is at 1035 W. Granada Blvd.

There is no admission charge; a freewill offering will be accepted.

For more information, call the church office at 386-677-4076 or email to music@lighthousepresob.org.

‘The Christ Child’

Deltona Presbyterian Church continues its sermon series “Who’s Who in the Manger?” The topic for Sunday, Dec. 19, is “The Christ Child.”

The church’s Christmas Eve service will be at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, in the sanctuary.

Advent devotional and Daily Bread booklets are free and available for pickup at the church. The address is 2300 Howland Blvd.

Chrysalis Church’s Christmas celebration

Why did God come into the world twice? The first time He came to subjugate the hells and glorify His Human in order to save the human race from being controlled by devils and satans. The Lord God Jesus Christ accomplished this by being tempted by them and being victorious over them. His presence with us today enables us to also resist evil desires and thoughts.

Chrysalis Church will hold a Christmas celebration of the Lord’s birth at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, which will include Christmas music and a storytime for children.

The reason why He made His second Advent will be disclosed on Sunday, Dec. 26. When here in person, the Lord said “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth …” (John 16:12).

Chrysalis meets at The New Church at 148 N. Euclid Ave. in Lake Helen. Services are followed by fellowship and a potluck lunch.

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