Chapel Hill: Community

On Faith: Duke Chapel welcomes all at Christmas Eve services

A file photo of a Sunday worship service at Duke Chapel.  Duke Chapel will close to the public for about a year starting May 2015 so the university can repair the ceiling, replace the roof and perform other restoration work.
A file photo of a Sunday worship service at Duke Chapel. Duke Chapel will close to the public for about a year starting May 2015 so the university can repair the ceiling, replace the roof and perform other restoration work. News & Observer file photo

Duke Chapel will hold four Christmas Eve worship services, including a live, statewide telecast of the 11 p.m. service.

The first begins at 2 p.m. and is suited for families with young children. A service with carols and Holy Communion starts at 4 p.m. with preaching by Duke Chapel Dean Luke Powery and singing by the Durham Children’s Choir.

Another service starts at 6 p.m. and will feature Christmas carols, a brass ensemble and a sermon from the dean. The traditional service of Lessons and Carols begins at 11 p.m. with an instrumental prelude at 10:30 p.m.

All these events are free. If you plan to attend the 11 p.m. service, arrive at least 30 minutes in advance as a capacity crowd is expected.

“Christmas is about comforting traditions, creches, hymns, gifts, family meals. But it is also about surprises: a virgin gives birth, a baby threatens a king, God descends to humankind,” Powery said. “My hope is that God’s presence be as near to us this season as it was in the manger of a baby boy thousands of years ago.”

The 11 p.m. service will be broadcast live across the state on Time Warner Cable News, channels 14 or 200.

Members of the public are invited to sing in the choir for the 11 p.m. service. A rehearsal at 9 p.m. is required.

Jewish scribing

The Jewish community celebrated Hannukah, the festival of lights, last week in homes around the area and across the world.

On the eve of the holidays, Rabbi Zalman Bluming, director of Chabad Durham-Chapel Hill sponsored a unique workshop at the Lerner Jewish Community Day School, 1935 W. Cornwallis Road in Durham.

Rabbi Yosef Serebryanski, a Sofer or scribe, from Brooklyn, New York, demonstrated how a Torah scroll, Phylacteries and Mezuzot are written. He illustrated all of the necessary steps, beginning with the preparation of the parchment, the mixing of the special ink and the writing of the Hebrew alphabet using a feather.

Rabbi Serebryanski, 27, received his training from world class Jewish scribes in Brooklyn and Israel.

“This presentation allowed me to share with very young children some of the more traditional and ritual aspects of Judaism,” the rabbi said. “The Mezuzot on their doorposts at home, the Torah scroll in the synagogue will hold new meaning to them as they understand the secret to their making.”

Each child and others in the workshop took home a piece of parchment, a testament to their personal experience in Jewish scribing.

University United Methodist

Christmas Eve services at University United Methodist Church, 150 E. Franklin St., will be held at 5, 7:30 and 11 p.m.

Worship designed for families with young children will begin at 5 p.m. The 30-minute service is participatory with children and parents invited to sit on the steps in front of the church for story reading and Christmas carols. After the service, Holy Communion will be offered in the chapel at 5:30 p.m.

More traditional worship is set at 7:30 and 11 p.m. These services include Communion and candlelight as well as a sermon by the Rev. Carl King, Christmas hymns, a soloist singing “O Holy Night” and ending with “Silent Night” sung by the congregation in a candlelit sanctuary.

New Hope Presbyterian

New Hope Presbyterian Church, 4701 NC Hwy. 86, between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, will mark Christmas Eve with a traditional Lessons and Carols service. Music will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the service beginning at 6 p.m.

Unity Center of Peace

The annual Christmas Eve service of fun and festival is set at 7 p.m. at Unity Center of Peace, 8800 Seawell School Road.

The evening will include opportunity to join in singing congregational songs of the season as well as partaking in the annual Christmas Eve candle lighting ceremony.

Unity Center of Peace, a local interfaith and New Thought spiritual community, has invited all to join them for this joyous holiday celebration.

Binkley Memorial Baptist

Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church, 1712 Willow Drive, will have a 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service for children, families and extended families. This is a child friendly service with opportunity to move, interact and sing.

A traditional service of Lessons, Carols and lights is set for 7 p.m.

Road Home Band

The Road Home Band, a versatile, local four-piece acoustic ensemble, will present a benefit concert at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

There is no admission charge. Proceeds from a free-will offering will support the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service.

Performing pieces by such artists as Carrie Newcomer, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Alison Krauss and Bob Dylan, the Road Home Band delivers a mix of vocals, mandolin, guitar, bass and drums. The group regularly performs in the Triangle area.

Band members are Nancy Maeder, senior director of programs and operations, Ronald McDonald House; David Langham, recently retired business analyst at UNC-Chapel Hill, now a volunteer for Bladder Cancer Support and Advocacy; Brad Kintner, performance engineer and manager, Nutanix; and Robert Kintner, Concept Lab engineer, Cisco Systems.

Brad plays bass and Robert is on drums. Nancy is lead vocalist and David plays lead guitar, along with mandolin and vocals.

The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service meets basic needs and helps individuals and families achieve their goals. Through partnerships with volunteers, staff and those it serves, the IFC provides shelter, food, direct services, advocacy and information to people in need.