The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

December 24, 2012

Festival brings churches together

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The Christmas season hit a high note Saturday, as members of several local churches gathered at St. Mary’s Church in Medina to share the season’s message in a special ecumenical service.

A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols brought together a crowd of more than 200 for an evening of readings, reenactments and carols.

The united group reveled in an event that is becoming a local tradition. Representatives of Medina, Lockport, Middleport and Lyndonville churches all read selections that traced the biblical story from the garden in Genesis to the prophecies in Isaac and the gospels of Luke, John and Matthew.

They did so in the classical language not common in their weekly masses. 

“It’s the only time of the year that we use the King James version,” explained Joshua McGuffie, the pastor at Trinity Evangelic Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville and St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina. “The language is archaic, but it’s beautiful.”

The festival is a English tradition dating back nearly a century that is popular in the Anglican Church. Locally, many Episcopalian churches perform a variation that has it’s own combination of scripture and song.

“I like the interplay (between the music and readings),” said Georgette Stockman, a warden at St. John Episcopal Church in Medina. “It’s not eucharistic, but these are truly lessons.”

The music was provided Saturday by a multi-church choir and musical group that was highlighted by harpist Roxanne Ziegler, who brought her music from Rochester and then up to St. Mary’s balcony.

Their notes floated down with grace as members of the Medina Area Christian Theater performed all of the scenes depicted in the readings. The theater included a wide cast, including three separate toddlers and babies to portray Jesus.

“The hardest part was getting (her grandson) to bow to the kings,” Robyn Watts, one of the theater’s organizers said before the proceedings.

He did — heavenly.

The event’s free-will offering benefited the Medina Area Association of Churches, but the real gift was the good feeling that comes when a community co

“It’s a beautiful message for Christmas,” said Diane Krenning, a member of the East Shelby Community Bible Church. “Especially for this year — peace and goodwill, hope for the

new year.”

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.