Advent Worship Series
Our Advent theme is Harambee!, a Kiswahili word that is understood as let’s pull together! The word is on the coat of arms for Kenya and has been an important part of the political and cultural identity particularly since Kenyan independence in 1963. Within the USA, Harambee chants are part of many Kwanzaa celebrations. Learning from our Kenyan friends, we will spend this season pulling together in hopes of a more just and vibrant world anticipated with the presence of Christ.
We begin with the prophetic words of Amos, reminding us that our worship rings hallow without lives that embody justice and righteousness. We move forward with Isaiah declaring a new thing which is based on the long arc of liberation which is God’s movement in the world. On the third Sunday of Advent we read the first letter to the church at Thessalonica, with the instructions for how a community pulls together. Finally, we hear Mary’s song, the magnificat, which speaks of how God’s reversal of oppression fills us with the Harambee spirit of freedom.
Let’s pull together in a spirit of Justice, Newness, Freedom, and Goodness!
December 4, 2022
Advent Week 2: Behold I am doing a new thing!
Scripture: Isaiah 43:16-21
Preacher: Rev. Steve Jerbi
December 11, 2022
Advent Week 3: My soul proclaims your greatness!
Scripture: Luke 1:39-56,
Preacher: Bishop Edward Donalson III, DMin
December 18, 2022
Advent Week 4: Hold on to what is good!
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5.12-28
Preacher: Rev. Steve Jerbi
December 24—5:00 pm and 9:00 pm, digital service available at 11:00 pm
With the angels who sing out, the shepherds who receive the good news, and the Holy Family, we celebrate the birth of Jesus! Our worship begins with the 5pm Everyone Pageant, as children (and a few adults!) join together to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Folks of all ages are invited to participate! Find a costume at the ‘marketplace’ in the Narthex and join in the fun – whether you come up to the stage or not. This service will also be live-streamed.
Our candlelight service, with chancel choir and musicians, meets at 9:00 pm this year. Sing your favorite songs, hear the good news, receive bread for your journey and drink from the cup of blessing, and sit in the holy wonder of this silent night. This service will also be live-streamed. A digital service will be available at 11pm.
December 25 – Christmas Day, 10:00 am: For Christmas Day, we will gather in the sanctuary and through our livestream. Share in the fellowship of Christmas Day, with more hymns and celebration.
Music for Advent and Christmas
December 4: “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” by Michael Trotta is an unaccompanied work being presented by our Chancel Choir with the popular tune you may recognize as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” This piece was conceived as a dialogue between the supplicants and the creator, so you will hear that in the music as the melody weaves through different sections, and a vocal accompaniment is refraining the text “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel.”
“Here I Am, Lord” by Daniel Schutte is a popular hymn with both Catholic and Methodist origins that highlights the biblical text of Isaiah 6:8. This is a fascinating hymn because of the change in perspectives between the choruses and verses – the verses speak from God’s point of view with texts like “I, the Lord, of sea and sky,” while the chorus exclaims “Here I am, Lord.”
December 11: “Magnificat” by Francesco Durante is a Magnificat that is often misattributed to one of his pupils, Giovanni Pergolesi. The Chancel Choir is being accompanied by a string quartet with members from our chamber orchestra, A Joyful Noise.
“Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl is a piece for double choir that was popularized by the choral group Chanticleer. This piece features a bass soloist and was conceived in the style of alternatum plainsong.
A Joyful Noise String Ensemble is also sharing an “Ave Maria” by Bach and Gounod. This piece takes the melody from Bach’s “Prelude in C Major” from The Well Tempered Clavier and juxtaposes it with a melody written by Gounod. This is based on the same Latin prayer as the other Ave Maria being shared this Sunday.
December 18: Our very own Fellowship of the Ringers Bell Choir is sharing music during worship.
Service Music: “Betelehemu” is a Nigerian Christmas Carol by Nigerian drummer, composer, and impresario Babatunde Olatunji (b. 1927) and was arranged by Wendell Whalum. The text of this piece expresses the joy and trust we have in God, and sings their praises.
“Pat-a-Pan” is a traditional Burgundian carol arranged by Mark Burrows. This piece is only accompanied by a flute and hand drum, which allow for some obvious word painting to be highlighted alongside the text.
“Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” by Elizabeth Potson is a setting of an anonymous, early American prayer often associated with Christmas. This is an unaccompanied piece that offers an authentic sense of prayer and meditation through its simplistic, beautiful melody.