Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each and every home received a personal invitation to worship this Christmas? Because of the combined efforts of the youth group at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church and members of the Jarvis Lions Club, nearly every household in the town of Jarvis, Ont., received a personal invitation to come and celebrate the birth of Christ.
The hand-delivered cards invited Jarvis townspeople to a community Christmas carol service organized by the Jarvis ministerial association. The invitation also listed the Christmas celebrations and worship service times held at every Jarvis church throughout the season.
“So many were thankful for the invitation, and the kids especially jumped for the candy canes we offered,” reported Rev. Daryl DeKlerk, pastor at Ebenezer CRC. “A few good conversations sprung up about the meaning of Christmas too.”
With over 400 attendees at the community carol service held at Ebenezer CRC, the pews were packed on the first evening of Advent. Young pianists gave a special Christmas recital as people arrived, playing favorites like “Silent Night.” Choir members from the Jarvis churches joined together to lead the service with familiar carols, while others led in Scripture readings and times of prayer, making the service rich with participation from all ages and congregations.
DeKlerk is impressed with how all the churches in Jarvis work together, pray for each other, and gather several times a year for combined events.
“We are in an age where there are many cultural changes, and the church can feel isolated in its social values,”said DeKlerk. “In working together, we are not only a proactive witness but providing reactive encouragement for each other.”
Attendees appreciated this ecumenical gathering. One woman said, “This is the way that the Lord prepares [her] heart for Christmas.” Another attendee commented on how this annual service really speaks to the unity of the body of Christ, that in coming together, this is the church.