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New Sojurn service blends ancient, modern worship

Sojourn Free Methodist Church in Fairmount recently launched a new worship service at 5 p.m. on Saturdays called "Evensong at Sojourn."

Led by the Rev. Margaret G. Flowers and Linda Schwab, who have recently joined the pastoral team at Sojourn, Evensong is a brief and simple evening service that emphasizes readings from the Bible, sung prayers and Communion.

Many churches today are appreciating the special role of evensong services in an increasingly busy culture, as a representative of Christ Church in Dublin explained: "Evensong is essentially a service of reflection -- of leaving oneself open that God may speak to us through the psalms and readings and canticles which are the core of the service."

Christian Misciagna, senior pastor at Sojourn, agreed.

"There's something special about worship in the evening, a sense of mystery. As to a Saturday night, I like what it says about beginning the Sabbath, the day of rest, the night before," Misciagna said.

Evensong at Sojourn aims for a feeling that is both reverent and relaxed. "As might be expected for an evening service, the sanctuary is largely illuminated with candles," described Flowers. "Candles are a symbol of the light of Christ and the presence of God, but they also serve to evoke memories. So they help to connect us with the past, with those who have gone before us in the faith."

The current cycle of services, observing the season of Epiphany, draws many of its prayers from the Celtic tradition. "The language is concrete, visual and personal: it brings the great story of creation and redemption into the little acts of everyday life. And the Celtic love of the image of the journey fits beautifully with Sojourn's vision," Schwab said. Children are welcome. Coloring pages and puzzles related to the theme of the evening are available.

Music for the services spans a wide range of styles, including classic hymns, folk and gospel, along with instrumental music of many eras and styles.

"It's a great mix of traditions that reflects a lot of different influences that exist in our community," Misciagna said.

Sojourn hopes that the new service will fill a need for many in the area. The church is located at 804 S. Onondaga Road, and is accessible to the handicapped, with designated parking at the entrance nearest the sanctuary, behind the main building.

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