The story goes that Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians revived the tradition of a Christian fellowship meal in the 1700s.
And that John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church in England, ran into Moravians on board a ship while crossing the Atlantic in the 1800s and was so impressed with their spirit-filled lives that he adopted and recommended some of their traditions to his followers.
One was the Christmas Love Feast that continues to be celebrated in many 21st century United Methodist churches.
Aldersgate United Methodist Church at 1320 Umstead Road in Durham will hold its celebration at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.
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The service will include music and carols, Scripture readings, prayers and a short meditation. Its unique feature will be the serving of Moravian sweet buns and warm coffee. Beeswax candles will be lighted during the service, and worshipers will process out of the church with this light into the cold winter night.
Aldersgate shares this traditional service, an annual event, with the greater community as a way to welcome the coming of Christ into the world.
Also at Aldersgate, a special Christmas service of comfort and hope is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. This service uses prayers and gentle Christmas music to emphasize hope and healing for those feeling grief and loneliness.
All are welcome at both of these services.
Sunday worship at 11 a.m. Dec. 18, at Parkwood United Methodist Church, 5123 Revere Road, Durham, will be a traditional service of Christmas lessons and carols.
Also on Wednesday, Dec. 21, the church is inviting the community to its 7 p.m. Longest Night Service in which anyone living through a dark time during the holiday season can find a place to be with others and to find healing and help.
The Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road in Durham, is offering Blue Christmas for all ages at 7 p.m. today, Dec. 14.
This is a service for people who don’t particularly like Christmas or find the holidays a happy a time. Perhaps, the past year has been particularly sad or depressing or maybe you have had losses during the year and need a safe space to reflect on them.
This is a service for contemplative meditation and reflection, and all are welcome.
A sacred chant workshop and a special Taize service will be offered Sunday, Dec. 18, at Unity Center of Peace, 8800 Seawell School Road in Chapel Hill, by the Rev. Christy Snow, an ordained Science of Mind minister.
Participants in the workshop at 12:45 p.m. will be led in chants from three different spiritual traditions, Sufism, Buddhism and Hinduism. At 5 p.m. the Taize service will offer a time of sacred reflection with a meditative experience of music and poetry accompanied by the writings of 13th century mystic and poet Rumi, and early 20th century spiritualist Ernest Holmes, as well as other teachings.
There is a $20 suggested donation for each event.
The minister is a singer, songwriter, Native American flutist, retreat facilitator and author. She worked for seven years with Mecklenburg Ministries, an interfaith organization in Charlotte that brings together about 100 houses of faith.
Unity Center of Peace is an inclusive, New thought and Inter-Spiritual community that promotes a positive path to spiritual living.
United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., will hold its annual candlelight service of Christmas Lessons and Carols at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.
The children’s, youth and Chancel Choirs, directed by Jennifer Anderson, will perform traditional and new carols, featuring selections from Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols.”
Instrumentalists are Judy Konanc, oboe; Linden Thayer, harp; James Rice and Barbara Wildermuth, piano; and Mary Beth Peterson, organ.
The Christmas story will be told in word and song in this traditional worship service, first celebrated in Cornwall, England, on Christmas Eve in 1880, and later made famous through annual worldwide radio and television broadcasts from Kings College, Cambridge.
The Christmas story unfolds through readings from Genesis, Isaiah and the New Testament Gospels. After each reading, carols and hymns are sung that reflect the message from the Scripture.
First Presbyterian Church in downtown Durham will present “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” a program of Christmas music and poetry, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.
Featured are soprano Lesley Curtis, pianist Deborah Coclanis and Ann Harrison reading poems.
The program includes Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium,” poems by Dorothy Parker and Langston Hughes and Christmas hymns.
Also on Sunday, the 11 a.m. service will include a children’s pageant as the Christmas story is told during worship.
The church at 305 E. Main St. is handicap accessible and the public is invited.
Chapel open house
Duke Chapel will hold its Christmas Open House from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, when the main sanctuary will be decorated for the holiday. The event is free and open to the public.
In addition to the chapel’s regular weekly worship services, other holiday events at the chapel include:
▪ 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16: Vocal Arts Ensemble concert
▪ 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18: Complete Bach Organ Works series continues with a recital by Duke Chapel organist Christopher Jacobson titled “A German Christmas: Music for Advent and Christmas.”
▪ On Christmas Day, a Sunday, the chapel will hold a worship service at 11 a.m. and then be closed following the service. It will open to the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Normal hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. resume Jan. 2.
Walk raises $21K
The recent walk for the homeless called “Walk in their Shoes” and sponsored by Open Table Ministry for the seventh year raised almost $21,000. About 100 walkers covered three miles on the American Tobacco Trail.
As winter comes on, this ministry, housed at Trinity United Methodist Church in downtown Durham, needs coats, sleeping bags, blankets, tents, hats, gloves, socks and hygiene items.