Westminster Presbyterian Church
would like to extend a warm welcome to you, your family, and your friends
to join us this Christmas Eve for the annual Candlelit Festival Service of
Lessons and Carols. The Concert will feature favorite Handbell carols and
Poulenc's exuberant Gloria. The
Service of Lessons and Carols will feature the Westminster Choirs and
musicians from the Buffalo Philharmonic performing music inspired by cultures
around the world.
The service is like a diamond - each text and hymn sparkles with the light of God's love. By the end of the service, the Sanctuary is filled with the light of candles held high by worshippers. It is as if the room itself and people in it are aglow with the very light of that stable of so long ago. Because 2,000 years ago "the Word became flesh," as the Gospel of John says, we continue to seek ways to make God's vision of peace, justice, and hope practical and real for this community in which we live and serve.
We hope to see you and your loved ones here on Christmas Eve to listen to the ancient story once again in word and song, and to resolve together to live with the same extravagant love in which the infant Jesus came to us.
We will hold our annual Family Christmas Eve Service in the Sanctuary. The theme of the service is "The Journey to Bethlehem." The youth of our church family will lead worshippers in telling the story of the birth of Jesus, the Senior Choristers of the Westminster Choir School will present Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols with harp, and the Pastor will read the birth narrative from the Gospel of Luke.We hear the story again by having the youngest children bring pieces of the crèche forward to place on a felt board. It's an old, old story that never gets "old" and brings wonder and awe to the hearts of participants of every age.
The enchantment of Christmas Eve enables us to step back and re-focus our living on the Prince of Peace, the one who comes to transform our despair into hope, our sorrow into joy, and our tears into gladness. It is surely a time to give thanks for all our blessings and to recommit to making our community and world decent and safe enough for all of our children.
We hope to see you on this most holy of nights. May the blessings of the season make your holiday with family and loved ones a time of renewal and gratitude as we look to the year ahead.
This year our Christmas Eve offering will be divided between two non-profit organizations, located on the West Side and East Side of Buffalo. We are grateful for the good work being done by tonight's recipients and we are grateful for your generosity. Together we are making a difference. Together we are building a City of Good Neighbors, a welcoming community with opportunity for all.
Focused Learning for Youth (FLY) Program
FLY is a program of WEDI (Westminster Economic Development Initiative), an extension of the ENERGY After School Enrichment Program and takes place in Lafayette High School. FLY provides refugee middle-schoolers with a safe, supportive, and impactful environment, cultivating student development and success. With a focus on literacy and math, staff and volunteer tutors facilitate one-on-one and small-group tutoring and homework help to provide students with individualized instruction. A project-based learning model is followed to offer students additional opportunities to learn, while concurrently completing a project in students' areas of interest. Once a week, students split by gender and participate in "Girls and Boys Clubs", during which they explore life skills and topics such as nutrition, gender-equality, self-awareness, puberty, and healthy relationships. Students also participate in interest-specific clubs. Each summer a 6-week Summer Enrichment Program is offered to continue the positive momentum, impact, and support to our students by providing a safe, caring, educational, and recreational experience. Funds received from the Westminster Christmas offering will go towards purchasing program supplies such as cooking ingredients, art supplies, and calculators to enhance the quality of our program.
Fruit Belt United, Inc. Scholarship Fund
Fruit Belt United Inc. is a non-profit organization that works out of Pilgrim Baptist Church on Michigan Avenue. Founded in 1996 by 25 volunteers who were raised in the community, the organization's mission is to promote and expand educational and recreational opportunities for youth, to broaden their horizons and frame of reference, while promoting healthy relationships with senior adults and the community at large. One of the founding members of this organization, Gary L. Milton, was in the forefront of creating opportunities for children to realize and achieve their potential, and give back to their communities. In 2015, Fruit Belt United, Inc. established the "Gary L. Milton Scholarship" fund to award $500.00 scholarships to high school seniors and first year college students pursuing higher education. Funds received from the Westminster Christmas offering will be used to award scholarships for students in 2017.