Midtown: Community

Moravians share sweet holiday tradition

Every December for the past 54 years, the sanctuary of Raleigh Moravian Church has filled with the smell of more than 700 sugar cakes. Costumed volunteers busily give craft demonstrations and serve tea and sugar cakes, while music from local high school bands plays in the background.

“For me, the candle tea is about sharing the customs and practices that I grew up with,” said Craig Troutman, pastor of Raleigh Moravian Church. “Since we are the only Moravian Church in Raleigh, many people have never met a Moravian or heard about the Moravian religion, so this event is a great way to introduce ourselves and share our traditions with others.

“We consider this our gift to the community.”

This year’s tea is from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the church, 1816 Ridge Road, Raleigh.

All of the food and crafts at the event showcase traditions and heritage of the Moravian Church, which began more than 500 years ago and is an evangelical Protestant Christian community. Hostesses for the tea will be wearing traditional costumes from the 1700s with the color of ribbon on their cap showing their marital status.

Complimentary coffee and traditional sugar cakes of German origin will be served throughout the event. Crafts, baked goods and cookbooks will also be for sale.

Craft demonstrations will include the art of making the 26-point Moravian star from paper, which is passed down through the generations. Beeswax candles made during the event will be passed out at the upcoming love feast. Each part of the candle is symbolic to Moravians: The flame symbolizes Christ as the light of the world, the beeswax represents the purity of the life Christ lived and his followers seek, and the red color of the paper trimming symbolizes the blood of Christ.

Troutman said many visitors have made the candle tea a December tradition for their families.

“There is something really special about this event,” he said. “The atmosphere and energy engages people from the moment that they walk in. The fact that people come year after year is really the highest form of praise to us.”

For more information, visit www.raleighmoravian.org or call 919-787-4034.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Holiday Café

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church will be serving Greek food at its annual Holiday Café from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, and Friday, Dec. 7, at the church, 5000 Leadmine Road, Raleigh. The menu includes chicken riganato, pastitsio, Greek salad and other favorites. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Pretty in Pink Foundation, and the remaining proceeds will benefit other charities. For more information, call 919-781-4548 or visit www.holytrinityraleigh.org.

Edenton Street UMC Messiah Sing-In

Edenton Street United Methodist Church invites the community to its 34th annual Messiah Sing-In at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, in the sanctuary at the church, 228 W. Edenton St., Raleigh. The event will feature soloists and an orchestra with the audience playing the role of the chorus. For more information, visit www.esumc.org or call 919-832-7535.

Southbridge Fellowship helps orphan ministry

Earlier this month, Southbridge Fellowship held its first 5K run/walk to benefit its orphan care ministry, Reclaim 1:17. More than 150 people participated and raised $5,000 to provide interest-free loans and grants to assist families in the adoption process. The church is planning another 5K next year to benefit the ministry.

St. Raphael Catholic Church Carols Ceremony

The music ministry of St. Raphael Catholic Church will perform A Ceremony of Carols at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the church, 5801 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh.

The concert performed by the Festival Choir and Handbell Choir consists of familiar scripture readings interwoven with excerpts of 26 Christmas carols, including works by Handel and Bach.

The concert is free; donations will be accepted to support future concert series. For more information, contact Brad Croushorn at 919-865-5716 or bcroushorn@saintraphael.org.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com.