Covington First United Methodist Church kicks off a busy holiday season with a free community-wide concert featuring the internationally renowned Candler Singers at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Directed by the Rev. Barbara Day Miller, associate dean of Worship and Music at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, the singers will present "Emmanuel: God With Us," featuring church music from around the world.
"This will hopefully be the start of a new tradition," Covington First UMC Associate Pastor, the Rev. Jan McCoy said. "They're really talented singers. They travel on tours around the U.S. and overseas. They are well known and (the director) does an amazing job with them."
McCoy, who sang with the Candler Chorale when she was at Emory, said the chorale is also directed by Miller, whom says she does "an excellent job."
"As far as being in the Covington-Conyers area, they haven't been here in years," McCoy said. "We're really excited to have them come."
The 20 singers, dancers and instrumentalists of the Candler Singers are all seminary students preparing for a number of ministries in the church, education and the world. In addition to students from the U.S., the group also includes students from South Korea, Congo, Canada and the British Virgin Islands.
Music on Sunday will include classical, contemporary, folk and spiritual, with John Richardson as music assistant and accompanist.
The Candler Singers were the featured choir at the United Methodist General Conference a few years ago and will again be in concert at the upcoming UMC General Conference in Tampa, Fla. The group has a number of recordings, the latest of which is "Songs for All Seasons," which will be available for $15 following this weekend's concert.
Candler School of Theology is one of nine schools that comprise Emory University. The school is one of the United Methodist Church's 13 seminaries and is located on Emory's Atlanta campus.
McCoy said Covington First UMC is looking forward to "as many people from the community as possible" to attend the concert.
"We'd love to see all different denominations of churches represented here," she said. "This is a community-wide event and we want to open it to the entire community, not just Newton County, but also Rockdale County."
Covington First UMC is located at 1113 Conyers St. in Covington.
A few days after the Candler Singers perform, Covington UMC will begin its Live Nativity on the church front lawn at 6 p.m. Nov. 18. The Live Nativity will also be Dec. 2, 3, 19, 20 and 24 at 6 p.m.
The church will dedicate its sanctuary annex at 6 p.m. Nov. 20, and begin the special Advent season on Nov. 29 with the Hanging of the Green service at 8:30 p.m. The Christmas cantata is at 11 a.m. Dec. 11., with the children's Christmas program also at 11 a.m. on Dec. 18. The church will hold a children's Christmas Eve service at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 24 followed by Candlelight Christmas Eve services at 5 and 9 p.m.
Beth Sexton is a freelance writer based in Snellville. If you have a story idea,email Karen Rohr, features editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.