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At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, the First United Methodist Church of Paris will carry on a tradition for more than 85 years by presenting its annual Candlelight and Carols service in the church sanctuary.
The church is at 322 Lamar Ave.
Music minister Pat Fowzer said the service will be performed amid a Christmas setting of stained glass, candles in the windows, poinsettia gracing the altar area, and the church’s hand-made Chrismons displayed on a massive Christmas tree.
The evening will be filled with beloved carols, new choral arrangements, and meaningful scriptures, she said.
“This year’s musical offerings come at a time when Paris has suffered an icy, cold devastation that affected most every family in the area — leaving them cold, hungry, angry, and basically in shock at the circumstances that have transpired,” Fowzer said.
“There is absolutely no charge for this evening of exciting music. Instead, it is a gift to the congregation and the community to relieve the stress of this week’s disastrous days of weather, travel, and power challenges,” she said.
The mission of this year’s presentation, she said, is dedicated to bringing the warmth and joy of Jesus Christ through song and spoken word to those who have been affected by the ice storm.
Leading off the Candlelight and Carols worship service will be the performance of the Angelus Children’s Choir, which is made up of the church’s youngest singers.
“It is always exciting to hear them sing and also to see them burst into dance because they are so happy to sing of God’s love at such a young age,” Fowzer said.
The Kingdom Kids Children’s Choir, directed by Cheryt Wilson, will perform “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “We Three Kings,” and will present a flowing ribbon choregraphy as they sing.
The Tones Chime Kids Choir will play the melody of hymn favorite, “Joy to the World” with a bass chime accompaniment.
The Wesley Ringers Handbell Choir directed by Fowzer will bring to life one of the most beautiful Christmas standards, “Mary, Did You Know?”
“This is the first time the Mark Lowry composition has been arranged for handbells and is an exceptional arrangement for bells,” Fowzer said.
The service always begins with a processional of all of the choirs, and this year they will enter the church to “Sing We Now of Christmas.”
Congregational hymns will include: “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”, and “Love Came Down at Christmas.”
At the end of the service, the congregation will light candles to the singing of “Silent Night” “and allow the sanctuary to glow with the light of Christ’s love through the lighting of over 350 candles,” Fowzer said.
Representing Connections Church — a separate worship experience campus founded in the Village Shopping Center — will be worship leader Michael Plata singing “A Savior is Born” from the popular Hillsong vocal group. Plata will accompany himself on the guitar.
The Chancel Choir will perform several Christmas selections, including:
Accompanists for the evening are Arvin Starrett on the organ and Bruce Frazier on the piano.
“The wonderful music of Christmas truly does make the season brighter, and the musicians of First United Methodist Church wish to invite Paris and the surrounding communities to join them,” Fowzer said.
“The pastor of First United Methodist Church is Rob Spencer who encourages all to join with the church members in celebrating the joy of the Christmas season through hope, love, peace, light, and music,” she added.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra