Our most magical and moving night of the year is back in-person in 2021.
In 2015, Plymouth hosted Rev. Michael Piazza, one of the most influential voices in progressive Christianity. Rev. Piazza has served as both pastor and guest consultant for congregations across the U.S. While at Plymouth, he was stunned to find out that unlike all the other churches he’d worked in or visited, Plymouth’s biggest day for services was not Easter. It was Christmas Eve. And it wasn’t even close.
On Christmas Eve, an afternoon spilling into a night of three services, Plymouth will have as many people attend worship as we’ll see on four average Sundays combined!
Year after year, Christmas Eve continues to be a night that Plymouth members, friends, and visitors from across Lawrence mark on their calendar. It is a night of moving reflection. When the organ drops out and members of the congregation rise with their lit candles as they sing “Silent Night” amid tears of reflection on the past year and hope for the future, it is truly a stirring and emotional experience. And one that has clearly brought so many people through our doors for 167 years and counting.
Plymouth’s remarkable Christmas tradition was even documented nationally in the December 1982 issue of Redbook Magazine.
So here we are again. A new season of Advent is upon us, and it does so as a seeming breath of fresh air after an emotionally trying two years enduring separation and disconnection in the face of a pandemic.
On Saturday, November 27, Plymouth staff and volunteers decorated the Sanctuary and Narthex with greens, poinsettias, lights, and bows. The joy present in our annual Hanging of the Greens was just the start of the most beloved season at Plymouth.
Come and be a part of the wonder in worship that Christmas at Plymouth provides. Join in the spirit of the season in the lighting of the Advent Candles, reminding us to have Hope, seek Peace, and hold Joy and Love in our hearts during this season.
Feel the spirit in the amazing music provided by the Chancel Choir as it presents “Magnificat” for its Advent Major Choral Work on Sunday, December 12, during the 9:30 am service. Feel the spirit as we watch the Children’s Christmas Pageant on Sunday, December 19, during the 9:30 am service. And of course, feel the spirit on Christmas Eve through our children’s service, Christmas Eve concert, and not one, but two beautiful traditional candlelight serves.
Advent and Christmas are the renewal of a spirit of hope and a push for peace in the world. At Plymouth, it is one of our most cherished traditions. So join us this year as the spirit of Advent comes to life and carries through another beautiful and memorable Christmas in our historic church and this amazing community of faith.
4 pm Children's Service
Kicking off the festivities is an interactive worship service of Angels and Shepherds through song and word, and great fun for the whole family. Join Rev. Caroline Lawson Dean, Plymouth's Minister of Music and Fine Arts, Kim Manz for all the Christmas fun.
Families with children are encouraged to come at 3:45 p.m. for the children to get dressed in an angel or a shepherd costume. Worship will begin at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary. It’s the perfect service for young families and the perfect start to a long and exciting night for smallest congregants.
6 pm 1st Traditional Service
This is Plymouth's biggest service of the year. If you and your family are planning to attend, please head to Plymouth earlier than usual to get a good seat. Plymouth is one of several downtown churches, and we will be sharing parking spaces along Vermont. Parking is also available in the parking garages by the Library on Vermont Street, and the Arts Center on New Hampshire Street.
7:30 pm Christmas Eve Concert
The annual concert on Christmas Eve between the 6 and 8 p.m. services will feature music of the season. Come enjoy Christmas music in the quiet stillness of our beautiful sacred space.
8 pm 2nd Candlelight Service
Plymouth closes the night of Christmas Eve celebration with our second candlelight service. As the hours of Christmas Eve tick closer to Christmas, the raising of the candles and singing of “Silent Night” for the last time in 2021 can bring with them a chill-raising and emotionally resonant impact during this late service.
Christmas Eve Offering
Each year Plymouth takes up an offering during our Christmas Eve services, of which 100% of the monetary donations from this offering are given to our mission partners and other Lawrence organizations. This year we will open this offering starting on Sunday, December 19, and then again during all three of our Christmas Eve services.
Plymouth will broadcast all of its Christmas Eve services and Christmas Concert live online at our YouTube channel “Plymouth Church UCC of Lawrence, Kansas” and on our Facebook page “@PlymouthLawrence.” Unable to join us in person? Tune in and it’s as if you are sitting right in our sanctuary for one of our most beautiful services of the year.
The Carol (2nd-4th grade) and Chapel (5th and higher) choirs will be singing on Christmas Eve at the 6 p.m. service. It is always a magical time having the children’s choirs join the Chancel Choir for “Away in a Manger” and the congregation for “Silent Night.”
There will be one massed rehearsal in the sanctuary on Sunday, December 19 immediately following the conclusion of the 9:30 am service. All children are encouraged to participate. Music is being rehearsed during regular rehearsal time on Sundays from 10:30-11 am.
REMINDER TO PARENTS
Have your singers meet in room 204S to robe and rehearse at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Long hair should be pulled back for safety when carrying lit candles.