Morris Chapel’s Christmas Eve tradition continuesPublished 7:16pm Thursday, December 20, 2012
Every winter, Lena Young looks forward to attending the Christmas Eve service at the historic Morris Chapel Church in Niles with her family.
She’s been doing it since the eighth grade, and, this year, she’ll be leading the service.
Pastor Sam Gordy, who joined the church in March and lives in Paw Paw, couldn’t attend the Christmas Eve service. That led Young and other church members to step up and make sure the service went on as planned — like it has for the past 50-plus years.
“Even if it means not having a pastor to do a sermon, we wanted people to have a place to go on Christmas Eve,” said Kevin Young, Lena’s son.
The service is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the 145-year-old church, located about five miles north of Niles at 11721 Pucker St.
Lena said the church has 19 members and several friends of the church that attend regularly.
“We can average 18 to 20 on a Sunday, but it depends on the time of the year,” Lena said.
The Christmas Eve service attracted around 45 people last year, but in the past Lena said they’ve had so many they had to bring in extra chairs. The church seats about 60 in the pews.
“It’s a wonderful tradition,” she said.
The service begins with a welcoming and the reading of the scripture. Candles are lit at appropriate times and hymns are sung.
“The scripture reading leads up to the birth of Jesus,” Kevin said.
Lena said the end of the ceremony is the best part. That’s when the lights are dimmed, and everyone lights a candle while singing “Silent Night.”
“It is awesome in here with the lights dimmed and circle of the candles — you leave here on a high,” Lena said.
“It helps you feel the true meaning of Christmas, and people really need that this year with everything that is going on,” Kevin said.
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