Festival services include special events and activities.
Like most Christians we recognize special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Palm Sunday and Easter with distinctive customs especially geared to families with young children. On Thanksgiving, for example, families are encouraged to bring a fruit or other food offering in celebration of the harvest, and these are presented in a grand procession at the beginning of the service. Later, the offerings are given to the needy in our community.
At Christmas time we celebrate with a special pageant called a tableau (French for “living pictures”) a week or 10 days before Christmas, in which members of the congregation act out portions of the Advent story. This is done in an evening worship service with hymns, prayers and lessons, and is always followed by refreshments and a carol sing in the social hall. There is also a very special candle-lit service on Christmas eve, with a short sermon adapted to all ages. This is a highlight of the year for many.
On Palm Sunday (the week before Easter) we provide palm-like branches for the families to bring forward in a procession reminiscent of the actual event described in Matthew, chapter 21. And on Easter Sunday we commemorate the Lord’s resurrection with, again, a special sermon with visual aids adapted to all ages.
In addition to these we also commemorate the establishment of the New Church as a spiritual phenomenon on the Sunday nearest to June 19th. This may include a short pageant and a picnic afterward, and is another worship service geared to the whole family.
Finally, for the adults, every 6 weeks or so we offer a commemoration of the Lord’s Last Supper in what is often called “communion” or “the holy supper.” In these services, after the regular children’s talk and adult sermon, members are invited to come forward and kneel in groups of 15 or 20 to partake of unleavened bread and red wine served by the ministers from a common cup (or individual cups, according to your wishes). In our understanding this ritual is symbolic of the Lord’s offer, and our acceptance into our lives of the nourishing elements of His Divine Good (represented by the bread) and Truth (represented by the wine). This is an “open” communion, and all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and wish to be led and taught by Him are invited to join with us.
Newcomers and visitors are most welcome at ANY of these or any other services, and you can see more information about each of them in the “News and Events” section of this website in the appropriate season.