Christmas at Unity! 2019 Events

Our neighbors and their families are invited to celebrate Christmas with us at Unity Moravian Church by attending one or all of these events:

Sunday, December 1         

Candle Trimming (5:30pm)
Bring your family and learn how to “dress” the hundreds of beeswax candles in special red paper trim used for our traditional Christmas lovefeast and candle services.  We enjoy snacks together once the work is done! Kid-friendly but fun for all ages! Free.

Salem Community Orchestra Concert (7:00pm)
Join us in the sanctuary for a merry old time! The orchestra will share a variety of carols and medleys designed to get you in the Christmas spirit! Free to all.

Sunday, December 15       

MoravianXmasInLewisvlleTransMoravian Christmas (3:00pm) and Children’s Lovefeast & Candle Service (4:30pm)
This interactive community open house and craft fair is free to everyone! Experience the history, music, and traditions of the Moravians, one of the world’s oldest churches. Buy unique gifts, chicken pies, and baked goods for the holidays. Enjoy free sugar cake, cookies, hot cocoa, and lovefeast coffee. Plenty of craft activities for the kids and young at heart. Stay for our children’s lovefeast at 4:30pm, a noisy and joyous worship experience where you can share in a symbolic meal, become part of the Christmas story, and sing carols. Come as you are!

  • 3:00pm: Moravian Christmas (crafts, baked goods, snacks, demonstrations of Moravian traditions such as star and candle making)
  • 3:45pm: Unwrapping the Christmas Creche (For children: each figure comes to life!)
  • 4:15pm: The Christmas Putz (presentation of Christmas nativity scenes)
  • 4:30pm: Interactive lovefeast and candle service begins

Tuesday, Dec. 24    

Christmas Eve Lovefeast & Candle Service (4pm & 7pm)
Join us at 4pm and 7pm on December 24th for our Christmas Eve Lovefeast and Candle Services. A brass band plays beforehand to welcome all inside for this beautiful worship service sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! Come early to enjoy the band prelude and get a seat. Nursery is provided.

All events take place at Unity Moravian Church at 8300 Concord Church Road in Lewisville, NC.  Read more about the Moravians at https://www.moravian.org/.

Please share this printable schedule with your friends and family.

 

 

Worship at Home on December 9

We hope you’ll stay safe and warm at home tomorrow, Sunday, December 9th, and enjoy the snow. We’ll resume our Advent festivities next week with Sunday School (9:45am) and Worship (11:00am). Please join us for Moravian Christmas in Lewisville next Sunday, December 16, beginning at 2:30pm, followed by our Children’s Lovefeast at 4:00pm. The cantata, The Winter Rose, will now be performed on Sunday, December 23rd at 7:30pm. Our sanctuary is now decorated for the season! View a few photos below.

Visit our Facebook page to read about all our Advent and Christmas events!

If you’d like to enjoy a bit of Advent worship on your own, here are a few ecumenical worship and prayer options for you!

  • Moravian Church Without Walls Daily Text Podcast: Listen online or with your favorite podcast service to the Daily Text, read each day by Moravians from all over North America. (Look at December 3rd – you’ll know that reader!)
  • Here’s a daily reading from the Lutherans’ Advent devotions about the 2nd Sunday in Advent.
  • Lectio Divina (purposeful, meditative Bible reading) for the Second Sunday in Advent.
  • A video Advent reflection.
  • An imaginative prayer exercise for the second Sunday in Advent.
  • This 10-minute guided meditation is perfect for the second Sunday in Advent.
  • An Advent devotional kit from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Christmas at Unity! Come Join Us for the Season

Our neighbors and their families are invited to celebrate Christmas with us at Unity Moravian Church by attending one or all of these events:

Sunday, December 2        

Candle Trimming (6:00pm)
Bring your family and learn how to “dress” the hundreds of beeswax candles in special red paper trim used for our traditional Christmas lovefeast and candle services.  We enjoy snacks together once the work is done! Kid-friendly but fun for all ages! Free.

Salem Community Orchestra Concert (7:30pm)
Join us in the sanctuary for a merry old time! The orchestra will share a variety of carols and medleys designed to get you in the Christmas spirit! Free to all.

Sunday, December 9   Sunday, December 23       

The Winter Rose: A Cantata (7:30pm)
Join us after the Lewisville Holiday parade for this free concert. The performance features Unity’s choir accompanied by a talented musical ensemble. The Winter Rose incorporates both traditional carols and newly composed anthems that visit the timeless Christmas story with fresh insight. This is Jim Basta’s farewell performance as conductor of the Unity Moravian Choir’s cantatas.

Sunday, December 16      

MoravianXmasInLewisvlleTransMoravian Christmas (2:30pm) and Children’s Lovefeast & Candle Service (4:00pm)
This interactive community open house and craft fair is free to everyone! Experience the history, music, and traditions of the Moravians, one of the world’s oldest churches. Buy unique gifts, chicken pies, and baked goods for the holidays. Enjoy free sugar cake, cookies, hot cocoa, and lovefeast coffee. Crafts for the kids and young at heart. Stay for our children’s lovefeast at 4:00pm, a noisy and joyous worship experience where you can share in a symbolic meal, become part of the Christmas story, and sing carols. Come as you are!

  • 2:30pm: Moravian Christmas (crafts, baked goods, snacks, demonstrations of Moravian traditions such as star and candle making)
  • 3:30pm: The Christmas Putz (presentation of Christmas nativity scenes)
  • 3:45pm: Band prelude (intergenerational!)
  • 4:00pm: Interactive lovefeast and candle service begins

Monday, Dec. 24    

Christmas Eve Lovefeast & Candle Service (4pm & 7pm)
Join us at 4pm and 7pm on December 24th for our Christmas Eve Lovefeast and Candle Services. A brass band plays beforehand to welcome all inside for this beautiful worship service sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! Come early to enjoy the band prelude and get a seat. Nursery is provided.

All events take place at Unity Moravian Church at 8300 Concord Church Road in Lewisville, NC.  Read more about the Moravians at https://www.moravian.org/.

Please share this printable schedule with your friends and family.

 

 

Blessed are the Peacemakers

As I write this, we are a little more than a week from the season of Advent, and it is just a couple of weeks after the two assault weapon massacres (Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas); and our country is still paralyzed on how to respond to these battlefield-type killings. How do we, as Christians, view these tragic occurrences?

I have tried to avoid any and all temptations to engage in the political rhetoric associated with this debate, and have tried to keep it in the realm of how Christ viewed violence and his responses and recommendations.

The truth is: We humans are all going to die.

The question is: What will be our death circumstance?

None of us want to die a violent death (car accident, war battlefield, gun crime, earthquake, or tornado, etc.). None of us want to contract cancer, ALS, or other types of fatal diseases. What we all wish is that we’ll live healthy and happy lives, then fall asleep one night and wake up in heaven. Yet, to our dismay, life on this planet has a different script for us. We know that there is evil in the world, and when evil takes over a person and that person has access to powerful weaponry…

The often-used statement: “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” is unconvincing…of course, people kill people. Human beings are agents in these matters.

As people of faith, we should be using our “grace-filled imaginations” to find ways to keep death as a natural part of life, and try our best to prevent violent, premature, unnatural ends to life.

Christ’s outlook on this has less to do with self-defense and more to do with the defense of a peaceful, communal life.

Jesus asks us to love our enemies, not to murder them; to pray for them, not to take vengeance; and he commends the peacemakers among us, not those advocating for more weapons for defense.

Was Jesus naïve? Apparently, some believe that the second person of the Trinity didn’t know what he was talking about. But Jesus lived in a violent time himself, under the heel of Roman rule in an occupied land, when human life was seen as cheap. Jesus witnessed violence and was himself the victim of violence and succumbed to the death penalty.

It was not only divine inspiration but also human experience that led him to say: Blessed are the peacemakers.

I wish I had THE definitive answer… but, the only answer I have is to follow Christ.

Each of us, can search our hearts and challenge our Christian faith to answer the questions:

  • Are we powerless to change our violent culture – or just unwilling to try?
  • Does our faith in Jesus have more influence on our thinking, than our political affiliation?
  • What do we say to our children and grandchildren about these violent acts?
  • What should we say?

This Advent season, we will read the scriptures and witness the ancient Hebrew prophets’ courage in the face of violence, and their peace-making efforts against hate. We will read the stories of Jesus and the disciples and witness their courage to love even though they were martyred for believing in this imagined Kingdom of God.

Praying for courage to go against the popular flow and to truly be advocates for peaceful living, and natural dying, is consistent with our faith. Using our grace-filled imaginations to lead our efforts in transforming our national ethos, is consistent with the prophets and with Jesus, our Lord.

Pray a prayer for our world: for the perpetrators and victims of evil and violence, and especially for the courageous peacemakers.

Advent: A hopeful time of seeing another way to live and prosper in the world – Jesus’ way.

Put fears aside; for our Lamb has conquered. Let us follow him.

Peace to all,

Barry

-The Rev. Barry Foster is pastor of Unity Moravian Church in Lewisville, North Carolina. This article was first published in the December 2017 church newsletter. 

The Advent Putz

Each year, before the first Sunday of Advent, members of Unity assemble a large nativity scene in the lobby (or narthex) of the sanctuary. This is often a family affair, with multiple generations participating in the decorating process.

A cherished tradition for young and old, the Putz (from the German word “putzen,” meaning, “to decorate”) retells the wonderful story of Christ’s birth in miniature, using rocks, moss, lighting, and small figurines. Many Moravian churches create a Putz for members and visitors to enjoy during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

For more information on the Putz and its role in our heritage, visit the Moravian Church in America website.

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Christmas Eve Lovefeast & Candle Services

Join us as we celebrate the Christmas season and the birth of a little baby who became the light of the world. We’ll hold three different lovefeast & candles services this year:

  • Sunday, December 18, at 4pm: Children’s Lovefeast & Candle Service. A noisy, joyous, and festive occasion for families with young children. We share in a symbolic meal, hear the Christmas story, and sing carols together.
  • Saturday, December 24, at 4pm AND 7pm: Christmas Eve Lovefeast and Candle Services. A brass band plays beforehand to welcome all inside for this beautiful service sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! Nursery is provided.

The first Moravian Lovefeast was served in Germany on August 13, 1727, following the Renewal of the Moravian Church. Lovefeast is styled after the common meal partaken in love and fellowship by the early Church (as described in the Book of Acts). The first lovefeast in North Carolina was held on the evening of the arrival of the Moravians at Bethabara in 1753. Warm mugs of sweetened coffee, prepared in the Moravian tradition, and authentic Moravian buns are served to the congregation. Seasonal music and Christmas carols set a festive tone while the congregation enjoys the “feast.” The candlelight portion of the service, now adopted in one form or another by many Christian denominations, began as a Moravian children’s service. Handmade beeswax candles decorated with a red paper frill are distributed to each worshiper. The beeswax candles have been variously described as symbolizing the purity of Christ and the sacrifice of Christ as the light of the world. The candles are lit while the worship space is darkened except for a large illuminated Moravian Advent Star. Often led by a child, worshipers sing the antiphonal hymn, Morning Star, O Cheering Sight. In some congregations, after the last hymn, the worshipers carry their lighted candles out into the dark world.