First Congregational Church invites visitors to celebrate the season of Advent through several worship opportunities and events around the theme, “What Do  YOU Want for Christmas?”  Each week during the month of December, this question will be explored from a Biblical, spiritual and personal perspective in a series of sermons and adult studies programs.  Two worship opportunities this weekend include the “First Saturday” worship, an informal alternative that offers a holiday respite for time-pressured families, on Saturday, December 3 at 5:30 pm and the regular worship on Sunday, December 4, at 10 am.  Communion is served at both services. 

Following the December 4 service, the 16th annual Alternative Gift Market will take place in the church’s Patton Auditorium.  Alternative gifts are meaningful rather than material:  participants make a charitable donation on someone’s behalf and receive a gift card to send the recipient.  The non-profits benefitting from this year’s gift market include Bridges Outreach, Caring Contact, Doctors Without Borders, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, the FCC Food Closet, Heifer International and Roots & Wings.   The Advent Festival, also on December 4 at 3 pm, is a much-loved tradition of craft-making, carols and dinner for all ages.

The Advent adult studies series, based on the book “All I want For Christmas Is” by James W. Moore, will explore the Sunday message in further depth.  Participants will discuss what we can best give ourselves and each other this Christmas, including the gifts of Good News, New Understanding, a Better Way of Life and a Stronger Foundation.  The study series meets on Monday evenings, December 5, 12, and 19, at 7:30 pm in the church’s Chapel Lounge and is free and open to the public.

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On Sunday, December 11, at 10 am, the annual Advent music service will present “The Joy of Christmas,” featuring familiar favorites and new anthems from several countries, performed by the church’s Festival Chorus with guest soloists and instrumentalists.  Afterwards, visitors are invited to stay for “Bagels & Beliefs,” an informal brunch and opportunity to learn more about history and mission of First Congregational Church.

First Congregational Church, a member of the United Church of Christ, welcomes visitors of every race, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or psychological ability and theological tradition. For additional information, please call (908) 233-2494 or visit www.fccofwestfield.org.