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Christmas With the Neighbors - Issue #109

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While most congregations are planning Christmas services for December 24 and 25, Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver is thinking about Christmas services at other times. Trinity provides a full candlelight Christmas service several days before December 25, especially for its downtown neighbors.

Located a few blocks from the Colorado State Capitol, the church has served downtown Denver for more than 150 years. With its modern gothic style sanctuary and one of the largest American-built nineteenth-century organs still in operation, Trinity is well suited for a traditional Christmas service. The service order includes candlelight, Christmas music, proclamation, and Communion with traditional liturgy.

While the worship style is traditional, the service is scheduled for a non-traditional time and for a unique group of people. It starts at noon on a workday during the week before Christmas day. The people who come include office workers and professionals, mothers with young children, people who plan to travel on the holiday, homeless neighbors who live on the chilly Denver streets, and church members who cannot attend on the 24th and 25th of December.

The service evokes nostalgia for some, reminding them of past Christmas experiences with loved ones. For all worshipers, it provides an opportunity to experience God’s love in the present.

For many, it will be their only corporate worship experience of the season or perhaps the year. And even if the worshipers will be attending another Christmas service a few days later, it provides the opportunity to pause on a workday and remember the reason for the holiday.


Some Questions for Discussion

  • Who are your congregation's neighbors? How are you thinking beyond December 24 and 25 to bring good news to these neighbors this Christmas?

  • When scheduling worship and other events, how is your congregation considering the needs of participants? Are there people who are consistently excluded because of "traditional" scheduling?

  • What unique opportunities for ministry are possible because of your location and facilities?


Betsey Heavner is Director of Leadership for Congregational Renewal at the Discipleship Ministries. She may be reached at [email protected].


In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #109. © 2011 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.