Christmas Eve at First Unitarian

2019 December 14

The First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn will continue its decades long tradition of hosting a music-filled 5 o’clock Christmas Eve candlelight service. The service is a beloved part of the congregation’s liturgical calendar, welcoming visitors from all over the New York City metropolitan area.

This year, Music Director, Adam Podd, and Senior Minister, Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons are planning a varied program of music and spoken word.

Mr. Podd will draw from a range of sources and styles, old and new. The program will include excerpts from James Whitbourn’s, Missa Carolae – a major work using the traditional mass text expertly set and arranged incorporating traditional Christmas carols from around the world. This piece will feature the First Unitarian Choir, brass quartet, piccolo, percussion, and historic pipe organ. Other selections will include brand new arrangements of Christmas spirituals and lullabies, featuring the choir, soloists, and brass. Finally, as has become a tradition, the service will end with a choral postlude – tapping into the gospel music tradition, and sending the congregation out with the joy of the holiday season.

Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, First Unitarian’s Senior Minister, will preach, All Are Broken, All Are Holy.  About her sermon Rev. Levy-Lyons says, Christmas is the story of a sacred mystery: a baby born into poverty and hardship, a member of an oppressed community, is revealed to be a prophet and a king. This ancient archetype speaks to all of us who have ever felt unfairly defined by our circumstances, our struggles, and our failures. We each long to be recognized as a unique child of the divine. In a world that doesn’t know who we really are, we long to reveal our essence – the pain and the mistakes, as well as our royal spiritual core.  This Christmas Eve, join us for a journey into the brokenness and holiness of each of us.” 

The service will take place in the congregation’s historic 1844 Gothic Revival Sanctuary on the corner of Pierrepont Street and Monroe Place in Brooklyn Heights which will be decorated with holiday greens.  The Sanctuary is famed for its original Tiffany windows and angel mosaic.

After the success of past year’s family services, First Unitarian has added a second service at 3:00PM. These child-centered inter-active services include bell ringing, candle lighting, and creation of the nativity.  Both services take place in the McKinney Chapel adjacent to the Sanctuary building. The service features familiar carols and stories of the season.  The family services will be led by Meagan Henry, First Unitarian’s Director of Education and Family Ministry.

Childcare will be available for small children at the 5:00PM service.

A collection will be taken to be shared with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a non-profit, nonsectarian associate member organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association that works to provide disaster relief and promote human rights and social justice around the world.

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