A Week of Worship at St. Matthew

It is a WONDERFULLY busy week of worship at St. Matthew:

Wednesday, December 18: "Meager Meal" at 5:30 pm followed at 6:30 pm by Holden Evening Prayer. It's a perfect opportunity to take a break from the materialistic madness of the secular Christmas season and reorient upon Jesus Christ. 

The service is called "Holden" because it was initially developed and used over 25 years ago at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat and ministry center in the State of Washington. The "evening prayer" portion of the name describes the service itself. The traditional, ancient Biblical texts that the Christian Church has been using for centuries and centuries for evening prayer are included in this service, like Mary's Magnificat. Those timeless texts, however, are set to beautiful, contemporary, and very singable music composed by Marty Haugen, one of the most published and popular liturgical composers of our era. It is a gentle service designed to remind us, in the growing darkness of evening, that we are surrounded and nourished by the light of Christ. It is a very participatory service, featuring abundant congregational singing, and is easily learned. Our experience is that after just one Holden Evening Prayer service, participants depart happily humming the songs and eagerly anticipating a future opportunity to worship using this setting. The service typically lasts approximately 45 minutes. All are welcome.

Saturday, December 21: "Longest Night Worship" at 3 pm. St. Matthew, in partnership with the Village at Morrisons Cove and Homewood at Martinsburg, will be host this jointly-sponsored worship service in our Fellowship Hall on Saturday, December 21 at 3 pm.

For most, Christmas is a time of joy, a time when families gather together, and a time when hearts soar with excitement. But for many others, Christmas can be a time of deep sadness and loneliness as we long for the presence of loved ones who have passed or feel isolation in our distance from friends and family. This sadness can be compounded by the growing darkness of long winter nights. Accordingly, the Longest Night Service is intentionally scheduled for the longest night of the year and provides an opportunity to gather together to acknowledge the grief and sadness many experience at this time of year and to gather hope in the light of Christ and Christian community.

The service will feature prayer, scriptures that address isolation and grief, the singing of traditional Christmas carols, and special music provided by talented singers and musicians from the Martinsburg community. The service also features the lighting of candles as a tangible reminder that Christ’s light overcomes the darkness and brings both healing and hope. Light refreshments will follow the service. All are welcome to this ecumenical gathering.

Sunday, December 22: We will gather for our traditional Service of the Word at 10:30 am as we mark the 4th Sunday of Advent.

We hope you can be part of these wonderful worship opportunities!