Stratham Community Church, United Church of Christ
Sunday Worship begins at 10 am, Join us!
ALL ARE WELCOME!!!
Advent and Christmas Eve Programming:
Advent and Christmas 2018:
This year our Advent and Christmas worship theme is entitled “Calm and Bright,” and this series of services empowers us to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the beloved Christmas carol Silent Night. There is something mystical and powerful that happens as we sing those familiar words, “Silent night, holy night / All is calm, all is bright / ‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child / Holy infant so tender and mild / Sleep in heavenly peace / Sleep in heavenly peace.” This theme celebrates the carol’s important messages and weaves those messages into the Biblical meaning of Christmas. It highlights God’s call upon our lives that can guide us all year long.
Before Each Sunday Service, Carol Singing:
Before each Sunday in Advent, we will have a carol sing starting at 9:50 am. Sally will lead us in singing all our favorite Christmas Carols and playing your requests. Allow this powerful time of worship to get you ready for worship and welcome your soul into a Calm and Bright season.
The Children’s Christmas Pageant:
Our young at heart children and youth will empower us to encounter our theme of “Calm and Bright” with their presentation of the pageant “A Bright and Calm Night” on Sunday, December 9th. Rehearsals will be after worship on December 2nd and at 9 am on December 9th. Please see Lily Nutt for more information on participating.
Family Advent Devotional Coloring Books:
This year Stratham Church is offering an illustrated Advent coloring and family devotional books for children during this Season. This year’s booklet is entitled Prepare the Way: Mary’s Song. If you want a great family project, we also have giant poster size Advent coloring sheets that can keep the whole family working together for hours. Please, pick one up and color the illustrated pages with your children as you undertake the Christmas Journey. Copies of Prepare the Way: Mary’s Song and the posters are available from the Church Office, in the Narthex, or from Rev. Jonathan. These are great family devotional activities for the Advent Season.
1st Sunday of Advent, December 2nd @ 10 am:
On this first Sunday of Advent, we will light the Candle of Peace as we remember that all children are precious gifts who are created good and beautiful. Too many of our world’s children are suffering and do not know the peaceful sleep described in the first verse of “Silent Night.” Heavenly peace should be a birthright of every babe, and we are called to work to stop the hunger, violence, poverty, and abuse that robs so many children of a silent night of heavenly peace. What does it mean for us to bring the gift of a silent night of heavenly peace to the children of this world?
2nd Sunday of Advent, December 9th @ 10 am:
As we light the Candle of Joy on this second Sunday of Advent, we will sing the second verse of Silent Night, “Silent night, holy night, / shepherds quake at the sight / glories stream from heaven afar, / heavenly hosts sing Alleluia! / Christ the Savior is born, / Christ the Savior is born!” The glories that flowed that first Christmas night are still streaming around us everyday if we only have the eyes and childlike wonder to see them. How would we live out the next year if we saw the world through the lens of childlike wonder? The shepherds got a dramatic wake-up call that night so long ago, and during this special service our children will give us a powerful wake-up call with their pageant “A Bright and Calm Night.”
3rd Sunday of Advent, December 16th @ 10 am:
As we celebrate the third Sunday of Advent, we will light the Candle of Love and sing the third verse of Silent Night, “Silent night, holy night, / Son of God, love’s pure light; / radiant beams from thy holy face / with the dawn of redeeming grace, / Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, / Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.” The presence of God in human form is the bright dawn of redeeming grace. Made in the image of God, we are called to radiate that divine grace to the rest of creation. What would the world be like if love’s pure light was at the center?
Family Christmas Caroling, Sunday, December 16th @ 2 pm:
Please join us as we go house to house caroling to our friends. Please gather at the church in the Rust Room on December 16th at 2 pm. We expect to be out for around 2 hours going to various homes and then back to church for refreshments and fellowship. If you have a local friend, who needs a little Christmas cheer, please send then name and contact to the Church Office or Joan Gough to see if we can carol at their home too! No matter your music ability everyone is welcome to come! And bring the children too! All are welcome.
Blue Christmas, Thursday, December 20th @ 6 pm:
As the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, approaches, we will gather to affirm and worship in solidary with all whose lives and emotions are impacted by blue feelings this Season. During this service, we make the space and take the time to acknowledge the blue feelings that many of us have during the Christmas Season. This is not a joyous season for everyone, every year. Many of us are struggling with loneliness, depression, grief, fear, doubt, and at this service there is a place in the Jesus’ stable for everyone who is blue. Rev. Jonathan’s message on this long night will explore Zacharias’ fear, a fear that many of us carry during the silent moments of our nights. For some of us a silent night would be a gift from heaven and for others of us a silent night would be a nightmare. Wherever you are at, you are welcome to this calm and bright service.
4th Sunday of Advent, December 23rd @ 10 am:
“Silent night, holy night, / wondrous star, lend thy light; / with the angels let us sing, / Alleluia to our King; / Christ the Savior is born, / Christ the Savior is born,” as we sing these words and light the Candle of Hope, we are invited to lift our voices to one who is “King.” In the ages of Kings and Queens this was a radical statement that placed God over the earthly powers of rulers who thought they were all powerful. We are reminded by this verse that whenever there is injustice in this world, we are to look to a truly all-powerful King whose power is love! How might the power of love increase our hope for tomorrow and for all the tomorrows to come?
Christmas Eve, Family Service @ 5 pm:
Do you know what a mouse has to do with the premier of Silent Night on December 24th, 1818? Did you know that there are six verses in the carol Silent Night? Do you think the tune was lovingly played on an organ during that first performance? Come and learn the history and empowering message of one of the most beloved Christmas Carols of all time. We will read the powerful scripture lessons of Jesus’ birth and a learn the story of the beloved carol Silent Night. This family friendly service will feature: special music, carol singing, a special time for children, and candles for the whole family.
Christmas Eve, Carols, and Candles @ 8 pm:
There is something about Christmas Eve: the memories, the feelings, the candle light, the carols. It is hard to describe that “something” that makes this service so unique and powerful. The older we are and the more memories we accumulate, the more complex those feelings become on that special evening. Perhaps the tendency for reflection upon our own lives and the presence or absence of loved ones on this night is why we love to hear “all is calm, all is bright.” During this service we remember the promise of God Emmanuel who is with us always. This classical service will feature: our beloved choir, special music, carol singing, and a candle light service.
Christmas Eve, Carols, Communion, and Reflection @ 11 pm:
During this quiet and reflective service, we will take a quieter approach to that first silent night of mystery and awe. This simple but powerful Christmas Eve service will include carols, communion, and candles.
Community Epiphany Service, Sunday, January 6th @ 3:00 pm:
Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Wisemen. Around the world, it is upon this day that many Christians give gifts. On this Epiphany Sunday, Stratham Community Church will be participating with congregations from across the Seacoast for an Ecumenical Service of song, choirs, and scriptures. After the morning service, Revs. Jonathan and Esther will have a special epiphany gift for each child.
Worship is held in our beautiful 250-seat Sanctuary every Sunday morning. In Winter, Spring and Fall, we begin at 10:00 am. During the summer, worship begins at 9:30 am. Dates for the transitions are well-publicized. Summer services are usually shorter, and more casual, without a choir. Read more…