Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church offers three different services on Christmas Eve this year. All three feature the Christmas story from scripture, the traditional candle lighting, "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "Joy to the World."
The 7 p.m. service is geared for families with young children, the 9 p.m. for adults and families with older children. Communion is offered at 11 p.m.
Both the Joyful Noise children's bell choir and newly formed children's singing choir, Bible Notes, will participate in the 7 p.m. service. They are directed by Linda Miller and Elisabeth Kisselstein, respectively. Joyful Noise will play "Away in a Manger." Members of Bible Notes will sing "The Little Drummer Boy" and "One Small Child." Pete Simmonds and Derrick Taylor will sing the lovely duet, "And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful" by Sally DeFord. "O Holy Night" will be sung by Kisselstein. The nursery will be staffed.
Joseph M. Martin's newest cantata, "The Mystery and The Majesty," will be presented by the Adult Choir at the 9 p.m. service. It follows the same scriptural path as the other services, with the readings enhanced by texts set to familiar carols, original pieces and solos sung by Brad Benton, Kisselstein and Marv Joslyn. The congregation will have several opportunities to sing along with the choir.
Ringers Jubilate, under the direction of Carole Sevak, will play "In Dulci Jubilo" and Kisselstein will sing "O Holy Night." The entire service will be illustrated by PowerPoint images of masterworks, assembled by director Rebecca Jensen.
"This is my 13th Christmas Eve at Baldwinsville First UMC, so this service is special to me," Jensen said.
At 8 p.m., folks are invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship in the Dining Room. At 8:50 p.m., there will be a carol singing in the sanctuary for those attending the 9 p.m. service.
The 11 p.m. Communion service will include a vocal ensemble of Carrie Foster, Dave and Ann Horan, Oscar and Rebecca Jensen, Marv and Janet Joslyn, Kisselstein and guest Kate Kisselstein, who will sing "O Holy Night."
All three services will be led by Rev. Rhonda Kouterick and her staff, with Marianne Miles at the organ and piano.