Many Columbia County churches will continue Christmas Eve traditions Sunday while others will begin new ones with special remembrances of the birth of Jesus.
Mosaic United Methodist Church will host its third annual The Touch of Peace service, based on a tradition of Orthodox Iraqi Christians, said the church's pastor, the Rev. Carolyn Moore. During the service, Moore will lead the congregation to a prepared Nativity scene and place the figure of the Christ-child in a manger.
At that point, the minister will touch the nearest person, who will symbolically pass the touch of Jesus on to others.
"It's a very warm and personal part of the service," Moore said. The Touch of Peace will begin at 5:30 p.m. Mosaic's sanctuary is on Columbia Industrial Boulevard in Evans.
Mosaic is one of many churches in Columbia County with special Christmas Eve services.
At Stevens Creek Community Church, the cast of Christmas With Grace will conclude the four-part theatrical mini-series that follows the Andersons, a family in turmoil at Christmas, said Todd Sturgell, the church's creative worship pastor. The performance is a departure from the past few years, when the church presented a Christmas story titled Scrooge.
In Christmas With Grace, the family matriarch is Grace Anderson, a bitter woman who through the course of the drama finds grace and extends it to her rebellious son, Sturgell said.
The point of the show is that "grace (is) the thing we need the most and deserve the least," he said. Stevens Creek will forgo its normal Sunday morning services, but offers three afternoon and evening services at 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
At the new Covenant United Methodist Church, members and guests will celebrate its first Christmas with a candlelight communion ceremony beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Greenbrier Elementary School, according to a church news release.
Harlem Baptist Church on East Milledgeville Road will hold a candlelight communion service, with the lighting of the Advent candle and special music beginning at 6 p.m., said church administrative assistant Christa Hyman.
Next door, beginning at 5 p.m., Harlem United Methodist Church presents performances by their praise team and choir, the Rev. Roger Vest said.
Abilene Baptist Church on Washington Road will continue its annual Christmas tradition with a Silent Lord's Supper at 6 p.m.
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