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Christians Celebrate the Birth of Jesus

By Donna Furey, Special to the Independent

Clockwise from left, Steve Silva, Michael and Michele Wood and Colin Sadowski volunteer in the live nativity scene at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The final 5-7 p.m. staging on Park Avenue is this Sunday, Dec. 22.

Clockwise from left, Steve Silva, Michael and Michele Wood and Colin Sadowski volunteer in the live nativity scene at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The final 5-7 p.m. staging on Park Avenue is this Sunday, Dec. 22.

Local churches mark the coming holiday with Christmas experiences from traditional to trendy and everything in between. In addition to carols and candlelight services, celebrations of the season include an adaptation of the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s rock opera, “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” a living Bethlehem village and a live nativity staged outdoors by the Church of the Latter Day Saints on Park Avenue.

The latter took some by surprise recently. One young family on a reminiscent trip past the high school, parked their car and got out for a better look at the extended family of  “performers,” which were jostling for their perfect positions as other church members adjusted the lights and sound.

Bell choirs, Christmas plays and instrumental music round out the scheduled events.

Sunday, Dec. 22

Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave., will have 8:30 and 10 a.m. worship services along with the Living Bethlehem Village for children of all ages.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 685 Park Ave., will stage their live, outdoor, interfaith nativity from 5-7 p.m.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 428 Park. Ave., will perform its play “Passion of the Christ” at 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 24

Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Dr., holds a musical worship service at 7 p.m. which will feature the music  of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and familiar carols performed by Nick Hernandez, Mando Cordova, Bob Hawkins, Mary Scifres, Eric Henderson and Pam Wicks. A handbell choir directed by Jennifer Baker will also be part of the celebration. Pastor B.J. Beu with narrators John Gardiner and Carrie Pahlammer will tell Christmas stories and poems followed by a traditional Candlelight Closing.

Laguna Presbyterian, 415 Forest Ave., hosts a Living Bethlehem Village for children of all ages in Tankersley Hall at 2 p.m. and at 4 p.m. Instrumentalists and soloists will be featured at 7 and 9 p.m. services; the Chancel Choir and Praise Band will sing during the 7 p.m. service.

United Methodist Church, 21632 Wesley Dr., will have worship services at 7:30 and 11 p.m. with communion.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 428 Park Ave., will have their traditional Christmas Pageant performed by the children in the congregation at 4 p.m. and  a candlelight service at 10:30 p.m.

St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, 1042 Temple Terrace, celebrates mass at 4:30, 6:30 and 10:30 p.m., with an 8:30 p.m. mass in Spanish. Mass at church school, 30516 S. Coast Highway, at 5 p.m.

Little Church by the Sea, 468 Legion St., will hold candlelight services at 5 and 7 p.m.

Unitarian Universalist Church, 429 Cypress Dr., will usher in the holiday with Christmas music and a candlelight service at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 25

St. Catherine of Sienna Parish, 1042 Temple Terrace, will hold mass at 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 428 Park Ave., will have a 10:30 a.m. service, and their Christmas Pageant at 4 p.m.

Photo by Jessica DeStefano: 

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