A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
In North Texas, churches do the unique at Christmas
They include family advent stations, no-rehearsal pageants, original plays, showing grace for prisoners and the depressed.
Members of the North Texas Conference are observing Advent in a number of ways. Here is a snapshot of what a few of them are doing this season:
Hamilton Park UMC has organized “Merry Christmas to Our Brothers in White,” collecting items and bagging them up on Dec. 15 for about 8,400 prisoners in Palestine, Texas. (In Texas, prison uniforms are white.) The men of the church planned to deliver the gift bags and participate in a church service on Dec. 16 at the Michael Unit. Additionally, the church is sponsoring an Angel Tree for children whose parents are incarcerated. The gifts are on behalf of the inmates.
The Northgate Players of Northgate UMC in Irving are presenting The Worst Christmas Play Ever, written by member Joanne Walden. Cost is $12 per person or $10 each for four or more for the 6 p.m. Dec. 16 performance, which includes a barbecue dinner. There is also a dress rehearsal performance at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. It’s $5 and comes with pizza and a drink.
First UMC Coppell has set up family-friendly Advent stations in the sanctuary. In addition to Sundays, worshippers can enjoy the stations during the week through Dec. 17. Additionally, the church is holding “A Different Kind of Gift Giving” on Sunday mornings, when shoppers can buy items benefiting good causes. Its United Methodist Men held a bike drive for children, and volunteers planned to bake casseroles and serve breakfast Christmas morning at the Austin Street Shelter.
Plymouth Park UMC in Irving will hold a Christmas Service of Hope and Remembrance on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. for those who are suffering loss or for those feeling overwhelmed by the season. This “Blue Service” offers a word of hope and encouragement and special prayers for healing.
First UMC Wichita Falls is displaying its Church Family Christmas Candle, formed from used candles from each household of the church. The used candles were melted down to create one large candle representing “our diverse congregation of individuals coming together as one family in Christ,” its flyer said. The big candle is burning in the church sanctuary through Advent.
Lakeway UMC in Pottsboro will hold a “a paper bag Christmas pageant,” a no-rehearsal pageant for people of all ages on Dec. 24. at 10:30 a.m. “There is nothing quite like the expression on the face of a child when they take part in a Christmas pageant that tells the story of the first Christmas. Noisy sheep and antsy angels just seem to make it all the better,” the church website says. Stay afterward for cookies and cider.