Advent & Christmas with GPPC

Love Feast Photo 2.jpeg

November 27 - First Sunday of Advent
11:00am Worship

Carla Pratt Keyes, preaching

December 4 - Second Sunday of Advent
11:00am Worship

Flo Barbee-Watkins, Presbytery of the James’ Lead Presbyter for Vision and Collaboration, preaching

December 6 - Adult Homes Christmas Party

Party hosted by Concerned Northside Congregations at Battery Park Christian Church, at the corner of Brook Road and Bellevue Avenue. All kinds of help is welcome! Transportation for the guests. Company at the tables. Musicians. Food servers. Please contact the church office for details.

December 11 - Third Sunday of Advent
11:00am Worship

Carla Pratt Keyes, preaching

December 18 - Fourth Sunday of Advent
6:30pm - Love Feast in the Moravian tradition (instead of morning worship)
Share the Christmas story in this especially warm and lovely service of carols, readings, hot chocolate, Moravian treats, and candles. Nursery care will be available from 6:15pm to 7:45pm.

(See Doug Brown’s message about this year’s Love Feast below!)

December 24 Christmas Eve (two services)
5:00 p.m. Las Posadas Family Service
Las Posadas means “The Inns.” This service allows children to share the difficult journey of Mary and Joseph, searching for a place to stay on the night Christ was born. Together we remember the birth of Jesus and the Christian vocation of hospitality.

9:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion
A traditional service of scripture, hymns and prayers, culminating with the Lord’s Supper
and singing by candlelight.

December 25 - Christmas Day
11:00am -  Brunch Church
Jesus Christ’s first bed was a manger – a place you typically find food. Still we meet
God incarnate at the place we share a meal. We will look for God in one another as we
share the Lord’s Supper: a feast of bread and cup, eggs and fruit, fellowship, scripture,
and prayer around tables in the Fellowship Hall.

January 1, 2023 - Second Sunday of Christmas / New Year’s Day
11:00am Worship

Carla Pratt Keyes, preaching

A New Lectionary for the New Year

     Beginning this Advent, GPPC will follow Wilda Gafney’s A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church in our Sunday worship. We’ve chosen “Year A” of the Women’s Lectionary, which features the Gospel of Matthew with John interwoven, as the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) does.
     GPPC has followed the RCL for many years. We also spent four years with the Narrative Lectionary. This year we’re eager to see, as Gafney does, what it looks like to tell the good news through the stories of women who are often on the margins of scripture and often set up to represent bad news. We’ll experience how a lectionary centering women’s stories, chosen with womanist and feminist commitments in mind, frames the presentation of the scriptures for proclamation and teaching.
     We will follow this lectionary until Easter, then evaluate our experience. Please pay close attention with us! You can read more about the Women’s Lectionary and Gafney’s translations of scripture
here. Although not required, the book may be purchased here.


Love Feast 2022 - by Doug Brown, GPPC’s Director of Music

      I had the pleasure of having a conversation with great hymnwriter and song collector John Bell last summer at Massanetta Springs during the Bible and Music Conference. “You have to have your choir sing the Leon Roberts setting of Mary’s Canticle. It’s the very best setting of Mary’s words I have ever heard.” It’s hard to say no to John Bell, and Leon Roberts is a legend among Black American composers. Janasee Estep is slated to sing the amazing solo when we do it. 
     The exceptional concert by the St. Olaf choir last spring had one standout piece: Rosephanye Powell’s “Christus Natus Est”. How could I resist? Countee Cullen’s haunting poem ("For bird and beast he did not come / but for the least of mortal scum.”)
and a tune that somehow brings strains of “Go Down, Moses” into the Christmas sphere. It is such a great piece!
       I caught a Christmas Revels performance outside of Washington, DC last December.
The theme was Reconstruction- era America, which was so oddly specific. It was hard not to get choked up as the audience joined the performance of “There Are Angels Hovering Round.” I did a little research and discovered that it’s a favorite of hospice choirs. Kevin Siegfried’s arrangement is shimmery and beautiful. 

       Two shape-note tunes round out the set of pieces. As it turns out, there are Christmas verses to What Wondrous Love Is This: “Ye winged seraphs fly like comets through the sky, with loud and joyful cry bear the news, bear the news!”




6:30pm on Sunday, December 18 - Special Offerings

Gifts for Residents of Neighborhood Adult Homes

     We show love and support to friends in nearby Adult Homes in two tangible ways at Christmastime.

  • We work with other area congregations to host a Christmas Party, for which GPPC assembles bags of simple gifts (snacks, lip balm, Kleenex, toothbrushes, etc.) for each guest. A box for donations is in the Narthex. (The Narthex is our Sanctuary entryway.)

  • We interview residents of “The Palace” Adult Home (3502 Chamberlayne Ave) to see what they need or would like for Christmas, and we make their Christmas Lists available, so that you can do a little holiday shopping on their behalf. At the start of December, you will find a Christmas tree adorned with wish lists in the Narthex of GPPC.


Christmas Joy Offering

     Every year during the Advent and Christmas season, we invite you to contribute to one of four PCUSA Special Offerings: the Christmas Joy Offering. This offering supports leadership development for communities of color and provides support for Presbyterian church workers in times of need. You can learn more and also donate here.

GPPC’s Pastor’s Discretionary Fund

     On Christmas Eve, we’ll invite you to support GPPC’s Pastor’s Discretionary Fund. Many times neighbors and travelers come through our doors needing assistance. Often we refer them to organizations like ACTS (which we support financially), where trained case managers work with clients to assess needs, craft budgets, and offer help with rent, mortgage, and utilities. Occasionally though, we offer direct assistance: a night in a hotel, a bus ticket, a tank of gas, an electric bill, a gently-used computer, medicine, a meal. Your gift to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund will enable us to keep making such gifts.