THANKSGIVING MEAL — Members of City Sanctuary Church prepare to serve a Thanksgiving meal Nov. 17 at Spring Hill Park in DeLand. The free event also included a coat, glove and blanket giveaway. Members of several other local churches were in attendance, including St. Paul Community Baptist Church, St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church and Mount Calvary Freewill Baptist Church, among others. BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Southern Cassadaga Holiday Candlelight Service

The Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp presents its annual Holiday Candlelight Service starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, in Colby Memorial Temple, 1250 Marion St. The service includes holiday hymns, solos, a Christmas story, meditation and spirit greeting given directly after the service.

A spirit greeting includes a touch-in with spirit (a loved one on the higher side of life) with evidence (i.e., relationship, way of passing, personality traits), life guidance and psychic information.

Cookies and beverages will be served in the Andrew Jackson Davis Educational Building, 1112 Stevens St.

For more information, go to Cassadaga.org or call the office at 386-228-3171.

Cookie Walk at St. Jude’s Episcopal

The Episcopal Women of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Orange City are hosting a Cookie Walk 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 17.

The homemade cookies make great gifts for the holidays. Most cookies will be sold at $7 per pound.

The church is at 815 E. Graves Ave. in Orange City.

Services at Church of the Holy Presence

Who says Christians do not meditate? Meditative prayers have been a part of Christian practice for 2,000 years. In that vein, Church of the Holy Presence in DeLand is hosting a “Taize Evening” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Enjoy a night of meditative singing of beautiful chants in a candlelight setting that makes the very words of the songs a prayer. Take time to center yourself instead of getting swept up by the pre-Christmas frenzy during Advent. You’re invited to come as you are, and be still in the Lord.

Dedicated to the people of DeLand, “The Path: A Tranquil Walk With God” at Church of the Holy Presence will be open from dawn to dusk for those wishing to meditate and meet the Lord in a quiet and peaceful setting. The Path includes 14 benches, each dedicated to a member of the congregation, with 14 Stations of the Cross, and a central chapel area for weddings and small outdoor gatherings. All are welcome to come take this walk, stopping at each station for prayer and meditation.

This can be a moving experience for individuals or families. All are welcome; dogs too! (We kindly ask that you pick up after your pups.)

The church will also host a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7 p.m.; a Christmas Day Service at 10 a.m.; and a New Year’s Day Service at 10 a.m., followed by a New Year’s Day Celebration.

The church is at 355 N. Kepler Road in DeLand. For more information regarding The Path, call the church office at 386-734-5228.

‘Jesus Comes to Us From a Place’

Everyone has a heritage and a claim to a place where they came from. Whether it is a country, a state, a city or a town, we all were born somewhere, and that is often where we say we came from. For many, that special place of origin is a source of pride, and we like to tell people about what makes that place special.

“Never forget where you came from and never take your eyes off where you’re heading.” — Anonymous

Here at First United Methodist Church of DeLand, the sermon series “Roots” is continuing, with the Sunday, Dec. 11, topic “Jesus Comes to Us From a Place.” It is known that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, a little place of great significance in the Christian world. But is that where He truly came from?

It is important when looking at where Jesus came from and where He was going to think about what Walt Disney said: “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you came from. Your only limit is your soul.”

The community is invited to examine Jesus’ beginnings and how that led Him to the place where He was to go to fulfill the plan of His and our Heavenly Father.

The church also offers small-group Bible studies at various times during the week; young adults meet Sunday evening; youth groups meet at different times during the week; and there is a Saturday-morning men’s Bible study.

As the holiday season is approaching, remember to save the dates for a couple of upcoming holiday events. On Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, a Combined Community Choir will present Celebrate the Wonder, a Christmas choral event. The Friday concert will be at 7 p.m. at FUMC, 115 E. Howry Ave. The Saturday concert will be at 3 p.m. at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand, 1401 W. New York Ave. This is a free concert event; a love offering will be collected.

On Christmas Eve, there will be three services: 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. services will be traditional services in the main sanctuary, with carols, a soloist, the Christmas Story and a candlelighting; the 5:30 p.m. service will be a family service in the Life Enrichment Center, based on the theme “Joy Story,” a Christmas spin on the familiar characters from the movie Toy Story. This service will also conclude with a candlelighting ceremony.

There will be one service on Christmas Day, at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary, and one service on New Year’s Day, at 10 a.m. in the Family Life Center.

First Church offices are open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday- Friday. Call 386-734-5113 for more information.

‘Exhale Toxicity, Inhale Love’

Mosaic Unitarian Universalist Congregation, while not meeting face-to-face, is meeting online at 11 a.m. every Sunday. The Dec. 11 service is titled “Exhale Toxicity, Inhale Love.”

It is very difficult to unravel the vines of familial toxicity that build up in one’s lifetime, indeed, in one’s ancestral history. Minister Teresa Leary shares the ongoing path she is on heading toward self-love, which happens only when people release the toxic patterns and relationships in their life.

Worship leader Judy Raymond will guide everyone through the service. All are welcome!

For information on Mosaic, visit the website at https://mosaicuuc.org. For instructions on how to join the virtual service, email to mosaicuuc@gmail.com.

Activities at 1st Christian Church

The Rev. Carlos Perez leads First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand in worship at 10:45 a.m., the third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 11.

The Advent candle “Joy” is lit during worship; various kinds of music will be provided by Barbara Polomsky, and Donna Mozley will lead the congregation in singing. Communion is served to all present during the service.

A Christmas Offering will be received for ministries in the 31 regional churches of the Disciples of Christ in the United States and Canada. The offering assists regions in supporting local ministers, developing lay leaders, calling ministers and doing the ordination process. The Florida region provides inspirational retreats, camps and conferences under the leadership of Regional Minister the Rev. Sandy Messick and Retreat Director the Rev. Mary Beth Harper.

Dr. Janet Raney is providing a luncheon after Dec. 11’s worship service.

There is prayer at 3:30 p.m. Mondays.

Bingo will be offered Friday, Dec. 23, with proceeds after expenses going to the Salvation Army.

The Disciple Women are preparing for the Feb. 3 and 4 Trash and Treasures Sale. The women also have a small Christmas Sale by donation in the sanctuary hallway, open 1-3:30 p.m. Mondays through Christmas. Proceeds support community outreach.

Living is giving

This week, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand, Coleen Summey, president of the church board, shares a message adapted from Kennon L. Callahan that “living is giving.” “We live life best as we give our strengths, gifts and competencies — we are called to serve, not survive. Our giving makes a difference in our families, our congregations, our community, and our faith.”

The message will be on giving of our time, our talents and our money. First UU notes that each member is a steward or trustee for the future, UUs’ vision, and the maintenance of the liberal religious community.

If time allows, discussion may be included after every presentation. After the service, everyone happily will gather for a social hour to share coffee, tea and conversation.

Those attending in person are encouraged to arrive early for greetings before the service begins. Masks are discretionary but encouraged at this time.

To link to the 10:30 a.m. Zoomed service, visit https://zoom.us/i/92718819188. Feel free to contact the church for help in getting connected at www.uudeland.org. Unitarian Universalists are an open-minded, freethinking, openhearted, spiritual community where all are welcomed as everyone learns together. Regular group meetings, including discussions, the book club, the men’s group and the Conversation Covenant continue in person and on Zoom. Special educational programs for children are available at the 10:30 a.m. service.

‘God, the Preserver of Man’

Having discovered what she eventually called “Christian Science” in the late 1800s, Mary Baker Eddy wanted to assure that the discovery would not become diluted by the interpretations of various individuals. To that end, she ordained the Bible and her textbook Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures as the only pastors or preachers in Christian Science churches, and made a list of 26 rotating topics for weekly Bible lessons that comprise the sermons in these churches.

Of these topics, the one planned for the 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, service at First Church of Christ, Scientist, in DeLand, may be puzzling for those not familiar with Christian Science. “God, the Preserver of Man” explores how God protects human beings, no matter what situation they are in.

The Dec. 11 lesson uses Bible stories, such as the story of Gideon, who is guided by God to downsize his army to fight a much larger military in the Book of Judges; Elisha, who is protected from the army of the Syrian king coming to Dothan; and the woman clothed with the sun who prevails over the red dragon in Revelation. These stories demonstrate that God’s power is infinitely greater.

All are welcome to join DeLand’s Christian Scientists on Sundays to enjoy this lesson and the 25 others, and to discover the blessings these teachings impart.

Testimony Meetings are at 5 p.m. Wednesdays. All are welcome.

The church is at 111 E. New York Ave. in Downtown DeLand. The Christian Science Reading Room, in the same building, is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. For more information, call 386-734-6547.

Pay it forward and bring joy!

This Sunday, Dec. 11, First Presbyterian Church of DeLand invites the community to all three services on the third Sunday of Advent. Along with open Holy Communion, Pastor Michael Bodger will lead the congregation — in person, livestreamed or recorded — in exploring the joy of living with the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

To signal the presence of the Messiah in their midst, Jesus replies to John the Baptist’s query, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them” (Matthew: 4-7).

As much as people might want to practice simple acts of kindness, thoughtfulness, forgiveness and patience, do they make them part of their lives? How joyful to bring a smile to a downtrodden face, put an eager step into a shuffling walk, or bring a ray of light into an otherwise dark place!

People can do all that and thus make a difference in a broken world!

Along with the regularly scheduled weekly and monthly events, First Pres has been offering opportunities to prepare for the Advent spirit of anticipating the joy of Christmas Eve.

This month’s God’s Bathhouse will be 9-11 a.m. Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 24. Those in need can take showers and get fresh clothing, hygiene kits and fellowship.

In the spirit of the Advent Season, the First Pres Mission Team declares, “Let’s Feed the Hungry!” through an urgently needed Food Drive ending Thursday, Dec. 15. Drop off donations of unexpired and nonperishable food into the grocery carts outside the sanctuary and in the fellowship hall. The food will go to The Neighborhood Center’s food bank.

At the culmination of Advent lies Christ’s Coming! First Pres DeLand will celebrate Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. with a candlelight service outside, and at 6:15 p.m. with a candlelight service inside the sanctuary. There will be one service, at 10:30 a.m., to celebrate Christmas Day.

To enhance the colorful services and to honor family or friends, people can still order poinsettias through Sunday, Dec. 18, through the church office at 386-734-6212.

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