Please click here for a November 28 update on Vigil Ticket distributions.
Moravians Announce Christmas Vigil Schedule
Recently the Moravian Elders mailed a packet of information to members of the Church with this year’s Christmas Vigil schedule. Six identical services are scheduled for 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17; Sunday, December 18 and Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24.
A seventh service, the Family Lovefeast and Candlelight Service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 18, is similar to the Vigils, but with more commonly known Christmas carols than are part of the other evening vigils.
Residents of the community are invited to attend these services, but because of the growing number of people who want to attend, and the limited seating, free admission cards are required for the six evening vigils. The public distribution of admission cards is scheduled for Monday evening, December 5, 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Brothers’ House on Church Square. After that, any remaining tickets will be available at the church office. The Family Lovefeast and Candlelight Service on Sunday morning, Dec. 18 at 10:30, does not require an admission card.
Each year, nearly 4,000 persons attend the Moravian Christmas Vigils. Worshipers are encouraged to be in their seats 20 minutes before all services to hear the extensive prelude music by the organist, orchestra and choir. A freewill “No Room at the Inn” offering will be received for the Moravian Open Door ministry to provide a home in New York City for those who had been homeless. More than 200 church members serve as everything from candlemakers, to musicians, from fire guards to dieners who serve the lovefeast and candles.
Childcare is provided for parents with small children. The use of candles and the rapid changes from darkness to light may be unsettling for young children, reports a church leader. The sanctuary is completely darkened twice during the service.
The Vigil is the bringing together of two cherished services which originated in the Moravian Church: the Lovefeast and the Candlelight Ceremony. The lovefeast began in the Moravian Church after a revival of God’s Spirit in 1727. It is a simple meal, now a sweet bun and coffee or chocolate milk, shared in a song service of worship. The Christmas candlelight service began in 1747 when a candle was given to children as an object lesson for Jesus love burning in our hearts. Lititz Moravians and have offered the Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service in Lititz since 1756.
For information, call the church office at 626-8515.
Picture caption: Wide-angle picture of candle-lit Christmas Vigil. Photo by Carl Shuman.
Moravians Distribute Vigil Admission Cards (Update November 28)
Free admission cards to any of six Moravian Christmas vigils will be distributed on Monday evening, December 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Brothers’ House on Church Square.
The vigil, originally a Christmas Eve service, is now repeated six times to make the service available to all who wish to attend. Free admission cards are used to assure seating and safety. The six identical services are scheduled for 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, Sunday, December 18 and Christmas Eve, December 24.
Those who cannot attend the public distribution on Monday night are invited to request admission cards in writing by sending a request to: Lititz Moravian Congregation, ATT: Vigil Tickets, 8 Church Square, Lititz, PA 17543. Such mail requests should include: 1) First & second choices for dates and times wanted (it’s often easier to be accommodated at the 7:30 p.m. Service), 2) include name and phone number, and 3) include a pre-stamped/self-addressed envelope. Persons with questions should call the church office, 717-626-8515, but requests for admission cards will not be taken by phone.
A seventh service, the Family Lovefeast and Candlelight Service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 18, is similar to the Vigils, but without the Junior Choir anthems. Christmas vigils have been held in Lititz since 1756.