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Churches To Worship / Sing Together From Home

Many churches’ Christmas Eve worship will look different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ease any worshipers’ feelings of isolation, instead of packing into church sanctuaries they are encouraged to celebrate Christmas in a new way from their homes.

United Methodists across the Roanoke and New River valleys will join each other in celebrating the holiday, even while staying home. At 8 p.m. on December 24, members of United Methodist churches throughout the region will step onto their porches, balconies, and yards to share a Christmas Eve tradition: singing “Silent Night” by candlelight.

They invite everyone to join them.

“At Christmas, we celebrate that Jesus came to dwell among us or, as The Message translation puts it, ‘moved into the neighborhood’. This year we will celebrate the ‘Light of the World’ in our community. By lighting candles and singing, we remember that Jesus comes to us wherever we are, whether that is in a Sanctuary or in our homes,” explained Rev. Lauren Lobenhofer, senior pastor of Cave Spring United Methodist Church.

The tradition of singing Silent Night on Christmas Eve goes back to the early 19th century. Christians around the world and across denominations light candles and sing together in honor of this holy day. But with health experts recommending social distancing and discouraging singing in groups because of the coronavirus, sharing these traditions in church buildings may pose extra risks. So in light of these recommendations, the United Methodist Churches (UMC) of the Roanoke District decided to get together and get creative.

“We are excited to give people a chance to be together as we are apart in this crazy year. Sometimes starting a new tradition is a way to keep older traditions alive,” says B. Failes, senior pastor of Thrasher Memorial UMC in Vinton.

The United Methodists invite their neighbors to join in this new tradition. “Singing and candlelight are common to nearly every Christian denomination,” Rev. Lobenhofer said. “We hope to share this light across the whole region with anyone who is celebrating Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve.”

  • At 8:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, members of United Methodists Churches and their invited neighbors across the Roanoke and New River Valleys will light candles and sing Silent Night outside their homes.
  • This united act of worship by people who are apart allows those who may not feel safe gathering in-person to participate in the traditions of this holy day.
  • They hope to share joyful music and a message of Hope.

For more information contact: Rev. Lauren Lobenhofer, (Cave Spring UMC) [email protected], 567-204-1110

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