First United Methodist Church of Paris presents annual Candlelight and Carols service on Sunday

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.

Chancel Choir_1The church’s music ministry of this historic church will bring to life songs of Christmas faith and praise presented by each of the church’s musical groups.

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.

Chancel Choir_2

Pictured, from left, tone chime players Lucy McDowell and Ava Lassiter (Submitted)

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:

  • “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”
  • “Come, Thou Great Redeemer”
  • “I Wonder As I Wander”
  • “In The Bleak Midwinter”
  • “The Holly and The Ivy”
  • “Breath of Heaven”, and
  • “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

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


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About the Author

Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.