Area churches planning special events for Sleighbell weekend

With today’s commercialized celebration of Christmas, something that often gets lost is the true meaning of the season.

That is why during the Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend many area churches host special programs that bring out the true meaning of the season from a religious perspective dealing with birth of Christ.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Manistee will be putting on for the seventh straight year the Lessons and Carols service at the church. The program is free to the public and people of all denominations are invited to attend.

“It is going to be very similar to what we have done in the past,” said Trinity Lutheran Church music director Mark Kirchenberg. “The music is different this year, as we try and get a variety of music, but the lessons will be the same. We will be using our resources here at Trinity with the handbells and adult choir.”

Mary Moehring is also working the event with Kirchenberg and said there will be nine lessons that are read during the program this year.

“We want it to be a user friendly type of program that appeals to people in that they don’t have to do more than just come and enjoy it,” said Moehring. “It is a program that is about the word of God and music. People have to sing in various parts of it. People have the opportunity to participate or just sit back and enjoy it.”

Kirchenberg said some of the hymns are the old German ones, but that the entire program is in English.

Moehring said that Lesson and Carols is a traditional program that has been done for more than a 100 years.

“That is why we do it during Victorian Sleighbell Parade weekend because it is something that has been done for 100 years or more in different churches,” said Moehring. “It’s God’s word and music in the Christmas season.”

After the performance, there will be a fellowship time in the gymnasium where everyone can enjoy some traditional holiday treats.

“It’s not just going to be cookies as we have lots of good things planned,” said Moehring.

Another event with a flavor for Scandinavian countries is a traditional Swedish Brunch and Worship Service that will take place starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Portage Lake Bible Camp located at 4158 Camp Delight Road in Onekama. The traditional service will be held at 10 a.m. followed by the brunch at 11 a.m.

“That morning will be the worship service and that is kind of a traditional service format,” said Portage Lake Bible Camp’s Luke Johnson. “It will involve some music from the camp and a speaker with some Christmas songs and a message.”

Johnson said there is more after the service when they move over to the dining area.

“At 11 a.m. is the family Scandinavian brunch,” he said. “It is going to feature a lot of traditional Swedish food like Swedish meatballs, pancakes, Korv, rice pudding, sweetbreads, ligonberries and more.”

An added treat during the meal is those attending will be able to enjoy the music of Jerry and Michaella Jacoby.

“They will walk around doing requests, and they will be Christmas songs for the most part,” said Johnson. “So it is a really fun type of thing.”

There is a charge for the brunch and people can acquire more details by calling (231) 889-5911 or by going to info@portagelake.org.

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