Church presents Victorian Christmas Advent program
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Danielson - posted Tue., Dec. 11, 2012
Westfield Congregational Church, in Danielson, held a Victorian Christmas service on the evening of Dec. 9. It was the second in a four-week series of Advent services sponsored by the church under the direction of its new pastor, the Rev. Jonathan Chapman.
Church-goers were greeted at the doors by parishioners dressed in 18th century garb. They were given candles and programs, then ushered into an interior illuminated by candlelight. Garlands hung along the length of the wraparound balcony. Red tapers in more than 20 aisle candelabras provided an authentic Victorian feel, as did the red ribbons bedecking the two Christmas trees on the platform, and the wreaths hung on every wall.
Chapman, who hails from Atlanta, wanted to provide his new community with a service that was easy and quiet. “It's a beautiful church. It's made for Christmas, with the wraparound balcony,” he said. “It's a great way to remind people that this is, in many ways, the town's church.”
The service brought in 85 people on Dec. 2 and 170 on Dec. 9. It was more than he had anticipated. “Friends, we have a good problem,” he said prior to the service. “We've run out of programs. Can you share with those sitting beside you?” The congregation cheerily did so.
The bells chimed at 7 p.m. and Chapman's voice sang out, “Good Christian friends, rejoice.” It was a simple service. Chapman read from Isaiah and Luke, then led the congregation in prayers. “I wanted people to come and just be,” he said. From the pulpit, dressed in ascot and spectacles for the occasion, Chapman lent his tenor voice to several Christmas carols.
“If that isn't a voice from heaven, I don't know what is,” said Sherri Pasco jokingly after the service. But she is thrilled with the direction in which Chapman is taking the church. “He's positive,” she said. Donna Bronwell agreed. “He's brought an amazing energy with him,” she said.
Advent services will be held on Dec. 16 and 23 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the church Facebook page at www.facebook.com/westfielducc.