Eleven digital hymns, a pageant of lessons and carols, and a full Sunday worship service are among the United Church of Christ-produced Advent and Christmas resources that will soon be available to local churches.
“Each piece will be downloadable as a video file from the national setting,” said the Rev. Chris Davies of Justice and Local Church Ministries. She is co-leading the project with a JLCM colleague, the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley.
Information on the resources – and the downloads themselves, once available – can be found at this web page.
Also streaming Dec. 24 and 27
The 11 hymns, available separately as music videos, will be incorporated into a Christmas Eve pageant of lessons and carols that will be streamed via Facebook and YouTube at 3:30 p.m. EST Dec. 24. A movie, “A Very UCC Christmas: 2020,” will premiere on those same platforms Sunday, Dec. 27, at 10 a.m. ET – also including some of the hymns.
The Dec. 27 stream – which Davies described as “the national staff Christmas pageant” – can function as an entire worship service on that or another Sunday. “This production will offer a real look at church life in 2020, and hold hope for the Christ Child in the world, as well as allow us a time to worship with our siblings and sisters and brothers across the United Church of Christ,” she said.
The 11 hymn videos, appearing in the streams and available separately as downloads, are:
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
- In the Bleak Midwinter
- Star of County Down
- Away in a Manger / Santo Santo Santo
- O Come, All You Faithful
- Each Winter as the Year Grows Older
- Jesus, Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- Silent Night
- Go Tell it on the Mountain
‘Trying to make it versatile’
Davies suggested that pastors and worship planners could take one or more of these approaches:
- Use some or all of the hymns in worship.
- Download and play just the “Lessons and Carols” service.
- Download and play the full Dec. 27 worship service.
- Direct their congregations to watch the productions streaming online, either Christmas Eve or Sunday, Dec. 27.
“We are trying to make it as versatile as possible, so that it works for you,” she said. “If you have questions, please let me know, and I will do my best to answer them.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Working on this pageant has been such a joy in the midst of what has been pressing all around us,” said Davies, who heads JLCM's Faith Education, Innovation and Formation team. “We hope that you receive it as a gift and use it in whatever way is easiest for you. Know that National Staff continues to hold you in prayer, every single day.”
Dilley, who leads the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization team, added: “We are so grateful for all our churches and want to give them a special offering in gratitude for all the ways they are being the church in a global pandemic.”