Around Town: Ecumenical Advent, Woodward’s Creche, Christmas choices . . .

Christians from many denominations gathered December 6 for an Ecumenical Advent Carol Service. A candle-lit procession ended the service.

Christians from many denominations gathered December 6 for an Ecumenical Advent Carol Service, which ended with a candle-lit procession.

Hundreds of Christians from many denominations gathered at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in central Vancouver December 7 for an Ecumenical Advent Carol Service.

Marjeta Bobnar, coordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver had offered this invitation to the church at large: “As we ponder again the great mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled himself, taking on our humanity, and entered our time and space we invite you to join Vancouver Christians at the Ecumenical Concert.”

The program included performances of traditional carols and other songs led by the St. Gregory Armenian Church Choir, Glenn Chatten of St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church and the Focolare Roman Catholic Choir. Among the highlights were a rousing version of the Hallelujah Chorus led by the Fatima Ecumenical Choir from the Tri-Cities and the candle-lit recessional at the end of the service.

The coordinating group for the service was made up of Marjeta Bobnar; Catherine Ateyo, member of the worship and music committee at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church; Lori-Ann Boutin-Crawford, assistant dean of the Greater Vancouver Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and pastor of First Lutheran Church; Grant Rodgers, chair of the ecumenical and multi-faith unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster and priest of St. John the Apostle Anglican Church in Port Moody; Hrant Tahanian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Orthodox Church in Richmond; and Greg Thiessen, associate pastor of First United Mennonite Church in Vancouver.

Organizers said this was the first such concert, but that we can expect more in the future. In the meantime, there will be another chance to gather ecumenically quite soon, with a series of services throughout Metro Vancouver next month. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be celebrated at several churches in the Metro Vancouver / Fraser Valley region toward the end of January.

Don’s Story
This video tells one of the many good news stories coming from the Downtown Eastside, in this case from Mission Possible.
Here’s their introduction: “A bad accident sent Don into a downward spiral to the point where he didn’t work for nine years and was badly addicted to drugs. Thanks to the help offered to him through programs such as Mission Possible Maintenance and some tough but compassionate business owners like Ken McAllister from Midland Liquidators, Don has been able to recover his sense of dignity and purpose through work.”
Many thanks to Mission Possible, Union Gospel Mission, Salvation Army and the many other groups which work tirelessly to help people in the Downtown Eastside, and elsewhere, turn their lives around.
Woodward’s crèche at Christ Church
The Woodward's creche will be on display at Christ Church Cathedral from December 16 - January 4.

The Woodward’s crèche will be on display at Christ Church Cathedral from December 16 – January 4.

I fondly remember the manger scene of the birth of Christ put up in the windows of the Woodward’s department store every winter, down on Hastings Street. Woodward’s, alas, is gone, but the crèche remains – and will be on display at Christ Church Cathedral in the downtown core.

The church thanks the Georgia Street Hudson’s Bay Company store for its generosity in allowing them to display the crèche. The three-quarter life-size hand carved and hand painted figures came from Italy in 1960 and are in pretty good repair.

“They’re simply beautiful,” says Cathedral theologian in residence, Ellen Clark-King. “They’re a treasure for Vancouver,” adds Hudson’s Bay Company’s visual coordinator Paula Curry.

The crèche will be available for viewing from December 16 to January 4. Go here for visiting hours.

Christmas music choices

Vancouver Chamber Choir will perform Handel's Messiah at the Orpheum December 12.

Vancouver Chamber Choir will perform Handel’s Messiah at the Orpheum December 12.

Never is the choice of Christian music as rich as it is during the Christmas season. Check out the list of concerts below; there is something for everyone. The number of choirs and their many performances around the city ensure that many people will be exposed to elements of the gospel that they never experience at any other time of the year.

The season can be particularly encouraging for Christian singers. This excerpt from a story in The B.C. Catholic explains why:

The Vancouver Chamber Choir and Pacifica Singers will bring George Frideric Handel’s Messiah to The Orpheum December 12.

“There’s so much music that comes from our faith,” said Christina Cichos, a Vancouver Chamber Choir soprano and Our Lady of Assumption parishioner.

“There’s that saying: ‘Singing is praying twice,’ which is really cool because I get to sing for a living.”

She pointed out that her choir, with vocalists from various faiths, often sings religious music because there is much to choose from. . . .

“It is so interesting because the text isn’t all about Christmas,” Cichos remarked. “The first part is all about the prophecies of Isaiah towards a Saviour coming. The second part deals with his death and resurrection. The Hallelujah chorus is, of course, when he rises from the dead. Then the third part is all about his ascension and glory.” . . .

 “It’s so amazing when you’re singing with a bunch of people: you’re making all these harmonies and this music that’s beautiful; you’re with an orchestra and soloists, and there’s this great sound that is rising up and you think, ‘God is here for sure,'” Cichos said excitedly.

“Sometimes you just want to sit there and cry because you’re like: ‘Wow. Thank you, God, for music!'”

December 11, 2014

A Christmas to Remember – December 11, 2014 - December 15, 2014 at All Day
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 12, 2014

Talks with Tom: Are Those Under 35 Generous? – December 12, 2014 at 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Gallery Singers: Ceremony of Carols – December 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Vision Sharing: Unlocking the Prison Gates - returning to community – December 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Christian Singles Christmas Banquet: The Suspenders – December 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Making Spirits Bright: A Good Noise Gospel Christmas, featuring Daniel Lapp – December 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Singing Christmas Tree – December 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: Handel's Messiah - The Christmas Masterpiece – December 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Vivaldi Chamber Choir: Joyful Light - Morten Lauridsen 'Lux Aeterna' – December 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 13, 2014

Singing Christmas Tree – December 13, 2014 at All Day
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Winterlight – December 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Roy Durman: World Outreach - Christmas Smorgasbord Banquet – December 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
North Shore Community Christmas Dinner – December 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Carolyn Arends: Christmas - The Story of Stories – December 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Gloria Dei Chorale: Christmas Lessons and Carols – December 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Suspenders: Merry Christmas – December 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Making Spirits Bright: A Good Noise Gospel Christmas, featuring Daniel Lapp – December 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir – December 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 14, 2014

Singing Christmas Tree – December 14, 2014 at All Day
Kairos Advent Sunday of Peace – December 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Making Spirits Bright: A Good Noise Gospel Christmas, featuring Daniel Lapp – December 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Orpheus Choir: Joy to the World – December 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tidings of Comfort and Joy – December 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Winterlight – December 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Gloria Dei Chorale: Christmas Lessons and Carols – December 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Christmas Concert: Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir & the Royal Westminster Regimental Band – December 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 15, 2014

Musica Intima: A Christmas Story – December 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 16, 2014

Advent Talks: Who is My Neighbour?: Miles Richardson – December 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Blue Christmas 2014 – December 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Musica Intima: A Christmas Story – December 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 17, 2014

Vancouver Pastors Prayer Fellowship Christmas Celebration – December 17, 2014 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Christmas Tales – December 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Winter Harp – December 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 18, 2014

A Celebration of Chinese Christian Art – December 18, 2014 at All Day
Winter is Coming Exhibit – December 18, 2014 - December 19, 2014 at All Day
Timberline Country Christmas – December 18, 2014 - December 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Winter Harp – December 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
It's a Wonderful Life – December 18, 2014 - December 30, 2014 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 19, 2014

Chor Leoni: All is Calm - The Christmas Truce of 1914 – December 19, 2014 - December 21, 2014 at All Day
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Musica Intima: A Christmas Story – December 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Chamber Choir: A Dylan Thomas Christmas - A Child's Christmas in Wales – December 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 20, 2014

Vancouver Cantata Singers: A Christmas Reprise – December 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Musica Intima: A Christmas Story – December 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Out of the Cold: Featuring Christmas Tales – December 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The Story of Christmas – December 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Three Wise Men in Concert – December 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Phoenix Chamber Choir: Shine – December 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Winter Harp – December 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Christmas Presence – December 20, 2014 - December 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

December 21, 2014

Vancouver Chamber Choir: A Charlie Brown Christmas - Finding the True Meaning – December 21, 2014 at 8:00 am - 10:00 am
Christmas Tales – December 21, 2014 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
The Story of Christmas – December 21, 2014 at 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio: Cantatas 1,3 & 6 and Orchestral Suite #3 – December 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Winter Harp – December 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
An Evening with Michael W. Smith – December 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Winter Harp – December 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: A Traditional Christmas – December 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 22, 2014

VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Christmas 2014 – December 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

December 24, 2014

Gospel for the City: Christmas Eve Gospel Music Service Featuring Good Noise – December 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Christmas Tales on Christmas Eve – December 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

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