Advent Celebrations Take Place Across the Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren congregations, districts, retirement communities, colleges, and other church-related organizations are holding Advent and Christmas celebrations in December. Following is just a sampling of the many events that have been announced.

– A Live Nativity is hosted by Vern and Mary Jane Michael and Mill Creek Church of the Brethren on Dec. 21, 22, and 23 from 7-9 p.m. at the Michaels’ barn in Port Republic, Va. “Come enjoy the scriptures, music, and scenery of Christmas along with Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus, the Wise Men, shepherds, camels, sheep, and calves,” said an invitation.

— Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren is entering its first float in the Manassas Christmas Parade this year. Fellowship and Hospitality Ministry Team members Mary Ellen Kline, Melanie Montalvo, Whitney Rankin, and Wayne Kline have designed a float representing the church. Using David Hersch’s flatbed wagon, the float will feature a live manager scene and members of the Chancel Choir singing Christmas carols. The Manassas Christmas Parade is on Saturday, Dec. 1, beginning at 10 a.m. on the theme, “A Storybook Christmas.”

— York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren hosts an evening of music by the Dallastown High School strings and singers on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. Seasonal music will be followed by cookies and punch.

— “Come to Bethlehem and See…” is the theme of the outdoor live nativity at Bethlehem Church of the Brethren in Boones Mill, Va. Visitors will be able to walk through seven scenes, and then into the church for cookies, hot chocolate, cider, and fellowship. Attend anytime between 5-8 p.m. on Dec. 15 (inclement weather date is Dec. 22).

— Waynesboro (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts its 19th annual Cookie and Craft Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 8 a.m. to noon. An announcement advertised “lots and lots of cookies plus Christmas items, the famous garlic dill pickles, homemade candy, country ham sandwiches, and a bake sale.” A silent auction includes an heirloom quilt. Proceeds benefit numerous projects including disaster response ministries, Brethren Woods scholarships, and work in Haiti.

— Sipesville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren hosts a Christmas concert by the Chords of Praise, a dulcimer group, on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.

— John Kline Homestead Candlelight Dinners are Dec. 14 and 15 at 6 p.m. at the historic home of Civil War-era Brethren elder John Kline. The homestead is located in Broadway, Va. Enjoy a family-style meal and experience the daily struggles and resilient faith of the family and neighbors of Elder John Kline. Actors converse around each table as in the fall of 1862, sharing concerns about the continuing war, recent drought, and rampaging diphtheria. Dinners are $40 per plate. Groups are welcome; seating is limited to 32. Call 540-896-5001 for reservations.

— An “Old-Fashioned Christmas” takes place at CrossRoads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., on Dec. 1, 7-9 p.m. Visitors will follow lighted pathways as they walk through historic buildings decorated in 1850s style, enjoy holiday music and stories told by costumed hosts, taste delicious food and warm cider, and browse the gift shop. Cost is $8 per adult, $4 per child ages 6-12, free for children 5 and under. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Visit or call 540-438-1275.

— The Village at Morrisons Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Martinsburg, Pa., is holding “Christmas at the Cove” on Dec. 4. Cost is $5. Guests will enjoy food at The Village Green, and horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides. On Dec. 7 is a Cookie Sale at the Village Main Building Activities Hall, 1 p.m. until sold out.

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village in Boonsboro, Md., is holding its 3rd Annual Holiday Festival on Dec. 1 at 3:30-5:30 p.m. Guests may tour facilities, see holiday decor and a luminaria display, and enjoy light refreshments.

— For the Western Pennsylvania District Childrens Christmas Party on Dec. 15, a special service project has been announced. Children are invited to make scarves to send to No Walls Ministry which aids homeless in the city of Pittsburgh.

— Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., is holding a Celebration of Lights in the Nicarry Meetinghouse on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. This annual celebration is an opportunity to honor or remember loved ones. Cross Keys also is hosting several holiday music events including on Dec. 4, at 7 p.m., selections from the annual Christmas Concert by the Gettysburg Civic Chorus; and on Dec. 21, at 2 p.m., the Village Choir performing its Christmas cantata. Christmas Model Train Displays are operating Saturdays and Sundays prior to New Year’s Day, and Monday through Friday of the week before Christmas, Dec. 17-21. For more information go to .

— A “Tree of Stars” at the Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., is in the 29th year of honoring loved ones and helping provide benevolent care for residents of the retirement community. Participants may shine a light on the tree or hang an ornament in memory of a loved one or to benefit residents.

— Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa., holds its “2nd Annual Christmas Tree Festival: A Celebration of the Birth of Christ,” on Dec. 14, 15, and 16, 5-9 p.m. Family and friends are invited for fun, fellowship, and worship. The event will feature Christmas lights, a Nativity Collection, music and carols, a light dinner, and cookies, cocoa, and cider. Participants may vote for their favorite tree. Gifts will be received to a children’s clothing collection for the Children’s Aid Society, a local food pantry, and the work of Children’s Disaster Services. Go to for more information.

— A Christmas Together Banquet at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., on Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m., is a fundraiser for the camp based on Acts 2:44, “All the believers were TOGETHER.” The dinner includes a “praise-filled program” in a festively decorated Ark Dining Hall, according to an announcement. Contact or 540-992-2940.

— At Bridgewater (Va.) College, the music department presents a Holiday Extravaganza on Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Carter Center for Worship and Music featuring the Bridgewater College Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Choir, Chorale, Lift Your Voice Gospel Choir, Handbell Choir, and a string quartet. The college’s Equestrian Club hosts its 11th annual “Horses’ Christmas” at the Equestrian Center in Weyers Cave, Va., on Dec. 2, at 1 p.m. for children and their families. Horses will be dressed in seasonal garb, skits will focus on Pixar movies, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will make a special appearance on horseback. Children may reward horses with a tasty treat following the competition. In lieu of an admission charge, the equestrian club requests donations of canned goods for a local charity.

Photo by courtesy of Juniata College
Eileen Ivers

— At Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., world-renowned Irish fiddler and founding member of the Celtic group Cherish the Ladies, Eileen Ivers, will perform a holiday concern with the college Concert Choir at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and information call 814-641-5849. General admission tickets are $20, discounted to $12 for seniors and children age 18 and under. Ivers is from New York City and is a nine-time All-Ireland fiddle champion, and was the original fiddler in the production of “Riverdance.” On Dec. 9 Juniata theater students are holding a reading of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” to benefit the J.C. Blair Hospital Foundation. The reading starts at 7 p.m. in the performing arts movement studio in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

— At Elizabethtown (Pa.) College students, faculty, and guest choirs will perform wide array of music in upcoming holiday concerts. The 88-member College Symphonic Band performs its fall concert at 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 in Leffler Chapel, with members of the Flute Choir and Clarinet Ensemble. From 11 a.m. to noon on Dec. 5, students and faculty members of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts present seasonal music and readings in Zug Recital Hall. A family-friendly holiday concert on Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. features student performances and visits from holiday characters, hosted by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Tickets of $3 or $5 can be reserved online at On Dec. 15, the Tudor Choir and Wheatland Chorale will celebrate holiday season in song with a concert and sing-along at 7:30 p.m. at Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. The Tudor Choir is a vocal chamber ensemble famed for its interpretation of New England shape note carols and hymns. The Wheatland Chorale is one of Pennsylvania’s premier choral ensembles. Tickets are $10 to $30 and are available online with a family discount available.

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