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Advent activities, services

Readers responded to Interpreter's invitation via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to share Advent and Christmas traditions in their congregations. Here is a taste of the replies. Read more about these and others suggested by readers at beginning Sept. 15.

At First United Methodist Church in San Rafael, Calif., the Rev. Allison Hendley leads an Advent retreat for fourth-grade through senior high youth. It includes hosting a Christmas party for children whose parents are incarcerated.

West Heights United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kan., has a 35-year-old tradition of a "'Stan Kenton Christmas' using the original charts," reports the Rev. Cindy Watson, senior pastor.

An "Eve Eve" service lets folk from Fishers (Ind.) United Methodist Church traveling on Christmas Eve also worship with their church family, says Liz Simmonds, director of junior high student ministries.

A Children's Candlelight Service on a December Sunday evening before Christmas Eve "comes close to filling the entire church," says Donna Adair, director of communications at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston

Called Blue Christmas, Service of the Longest Night or other names are services near Dec. 21 for those finding it difficult to celebrate joyfully.

Late in the afternoon on Dec. 24, members of Satsop (Wash.) United Methodist Church join others from the community and place luminaries or all-weather candles on plots in the local cemetery, says the Rev. Marcella Bramstadt, pastor.

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