“A slice of heaven”
After the canldelight singing of “Away in the Manger” and “Silent Night,” the Rev. Ruth Morrison asked everyone to turn around and observe the filled-to-capacity sanctuary and what indeed was a “slice of heaven in Cape Elizabeth.”
This was Christmas Eve at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church, an evening of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ while renewing fellowships with new and old friends.
The 6 p.m. Family Service included the traditional telling of the Christmas story, complete with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, stars and angels, shepherds, wise ones and even a pair of shepherd dogs — Piper and Henry.
This year’s Holy Family included Sarah Gagne as Mary, Todd Gagne as Joseph and Lila Grace Gagne as Baby Jesus. Lila charmed the congregation with the way she greeted the wise ones, appeared mesmerized by the dancing stars and swarming angels, and kept a close eye on the shepherds, including her older brother Luke. Even though her role was to be Baby Jesus, Lila was a perfect angel throughout the service.
The Christmas pageant flowed smoothly, in large part thanks to the organ and piano playing of Gail Parker and by the piano solos of Tyler Rodenberger and Megan Connelly. Bryan Connelly narrated the story and kept the angels, wise ones, and shepherds always moving in the right direction and starting and ending at their precise moments in the pageant (no easy task).
The pageant began with scripture readings by Matt Braun about The Prophecy (Isaiah 11: 1-9) and by Natalie Charles about the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38). Before the arrival of Mary and Joseph, the final candle of the Advent wreath was lit by Katie Connelly.
Following the pageant portion of the service, the Offertory included special contributions collected since the beginning of the month — mittens, gloves and stocking caps for adults and children at the Preble Street Resource Center. Rev. Morrison was delivering five large bags of the mittens, gloves and caps to Preble Street on Christmas Day. Thank you to so many of you who contributed to this special mission.
At the end of the service, a large portion of those in attendance gathered in Fellowship Hall for coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and other treats for up to an hour. It was the kind of evening that was best celebrated by allowing it to linger as long as possible — and many people did!
Click here for more images of the Christmas Eve service: