0

Church music programs offer unique ways to celebrate Christmas

Programs offer unique ways to celebrate Christmas

Believers Fellowship of Conyers church members, from left, Jared Snider as Maxwell Seldon, Kris Williamson as Elliott Herzog Jr., and Rebekah Snider as Alice Garfield sing “The Christmas Rush” in a rehearsal for the upcoming musical, “The Christmas Post,” presented on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at Believers Fellowship, 1855 Christian Circle in Conyers. (Special Photo)

Believers Fellowship of Conyers church members, from left, Jared Snider as Maxwell Seldon, Kris Williamson as Elliott Herzog Jr., and Rebekah Snider as Alice Garfield sing “The Christmas Rush” in a rehearsal for the upcoming musical, “The Christmas Post,” presented on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at Believers Fellowship, 1855 Christian Circle in Conyers. (Special Photo)

photo

Conyers Presbyterian Church choir members, from left, Ronnie Umphrey, Staci Lawrence and Director of Music Ministry Martha Clay rehearse for a Christmas performance at the church on Dec. 15. (Special Photo)

As Christmas draws near, many churches in the community offer plays and musical programs that provide families with free entertainment and a message. Two such programs happen this weekend as Conyers Presbyterian Church and Believers Fellowship invite the community to join them as they turn the spotlight onstage for two uplifting Christmas programs.

When Believers Fellowship of Conyers debuted “The Christmas Post” in 2010, it was so popular the church decided to present the Broadway-style musical again this year. Leah George, who directed the show in 2010 and will again direct this year, said she can describe the show in two words — ”hilarious and heartwarming.”

An inspirational comedy, “The Christmas Post” is set in the 1940s with music and costumes to match. The main character is a young war widow who is trying to make ends meet as she takes care of her children. She takes a job at a local department store to earn money for Christmas, but finds difficulties with the store’s supervisor and owner, both of whom are “humbugs who only care about making money,” George said.

There are other people in the show who work in the store and try to help the woman keep her spirits up.

“We did this show in 2010 and repeated it because we had such a great success and people enjoyed it so much,” George said. “Even me as the director, I’m laughing every time we get together. It’s so funny and the characters are so great. Even if you’ve seen it before, it’s bound to make you laugh and even cry a little bit.”

George, who is also worship pastor for Believers Fellowship, said “The Christmas Post” involves about 40 cast and crew members.

“As a small church, we are bursting with talent,” she said.

“The Christmas Post” will be presented Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Rev. Jon Fennell is pastor of the church, which is located at 1855 Christian Circle in Conyers.

Admission is free and the show is appropriate for all ages. Childcare is available for children from birth to the age of 2

“The message is to keep your faith and keep working hard and God will give you what you need when you need it,” George said of the show.

“We can all kind of identify with the struggles and especially this time of year with financial struggles and wondering how we’re going to accomplish everything in this season. But if we keep our head up and keep God at the center of our life, He’ll help us accomplish what we need. … It does have a happy ending.”

Also this weekend, Conyers Presbyterian Church will present a celebration of traditional Christmas music with an international flair. Several songs are in other languages and even the children of the church have learned how to sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” in Latin.

“They are loving it,” Martha Clay, director of music ministries at the church said. She said the kids have really embraced singing in Latin and one child even corrected her mother by telling her Bethlehem was pronounced “Bet-lehem” — the Latin pronunciation.

Clay said most songs are in English, but there are a few in other languages, including the French carol, “Shepherds, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep” and “Silent Night” in German.

“Our program is a little different this year in that our children’s choir is going to join us,” Clay said. “They will join our sanctuary choir, which includes adults and some youth.”

The cantata will include traditional Christmas songs, such as “We Three Kings” and will also feature new songs.

“One we’re loving is ‘Canticle of the Turning,’ and it’s the song of Mary, so it’s got some really wonderful words, but it’s set to an Irish tune, ‘Star of the County Down’ and it is the most joyful, wonderful tune,” Clay said.

“Our children are going to join us on the refrain. They have movements they actually created themselves. They love it and we do too. It’s a beautiful new carol. It’s in our new Presbyterian hymnal, so everyone will get to learn it.”

The cantata is part of the Sunday worship service and Clay said it will “keep the integrity of worship on this third Sunday in Advent.” The congregation will join the choir on some of the songs.

In addition, there will also be live music.

“The thing that’s going to help make it sound so beautiful and will really uplift the whole thing is our string quartet, our harp and flute and we have percussion and handbells — in other words, a lot of instruments,” Clay said. “It’s going to be quite exciting.”

Conyers Presbyterian Church will present its Christmas cantata Sunday during its 11 a.m. worship service. The church is located at 911 N. Main St. in Conyers.

Beth Slaughter Sexton is a freelance writer based in Gwinnett County. Contact her at bethslaughtersexton@gmail.com.