Community Invited to Longest Night Service Friday, Dec. 21

First Presbyterian Church holds service for reflection and healing

The community is invited to a “Longest Night” service at the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown in Cold Spring on Friday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m.

The church is holding a service of worship on the longest night of the year, which falls on Dec. 21, the winter solstice. Longest Night is a worship service that acknowledges that, for many people, Christmas is a time of loneliness, sorrow, alienation, and sadness. In particular, following the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, and the recent events in Newtown, Conn., this service offers a way for people to claim those feelings and still feel surrounded by the compassionate love of God.

The church will hold this special community service, which seeks to create a sacred space for people living through dark times, with a reflective time of healing and acceptance. The Christmas message of hope will be presented with candlelight, poetry, readings and songs.

Not everyone is up and cheery for the Christmas holidays. Dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with cancer or some other dis-ease that puts a question mark over the future, and a number of other human situations make parties and joviality painful for many people in our congregations and communities. There is a growing attentiveness to the needs of people who are blue at Christmas. Increasing numbers of churches are creating sacred spaces for people living through dark times. Such services are reflective, accepting where we really are, and holding out healing and hope.

The Longest Night service at First Presbyterian Church is approximately 30 minutes long. The church is located at 10 Academy St., one block from the intersection of Routes 9D and 301 in Cold Spring. For more information, call the church office at 845-265-3220 or email [email protected].

The community is also invited to attend the traditional Christmas Eve services on Monday, Dec. 24, which includes the candlelight service at 7:30 p.m. and the Joyful Jazz Nativity at 10:30 p.m.

The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown states: “Knowing that all community is a gift of God, we affirm there can be no exclusiveness about the body of Christ. We welcome into our community and membership all people of God regardless of ethnic heritage, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or socioeconomic standing; and we encourage the full participation of all in the life of our congregation.”

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