GENESEO – First United Methodist Church in Geneseo is using the limitations of online-only worship to expand their seventh annual “Celebrate the Season” service from a single day to three Sundays, beginning tomorrow, Dec. 6, in addition to Dec. 13 and Dec. 20.
All services are online-only live at 9 a.m. and 10:30 at the church’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GeneseoFUMC.
“We decided to use the lockdown as a challenge to get creative this year,” said Tim Brinkman, director of worship at the church. “Celebrate the Season is our annual pre-Christmas service where we share the story of the birth of Jesus through music, drama, and art.”
Rather than present the celebration on one Sunday, it has been expanded and will be offered on three Sundays.
According to Brinkman, every aspect of preparation requires careful planning – not just for learning the music, but to assure maximum safety for all involved.
”Having our Choir sing together live isn’t possible because of the risks involved with having so many people singing close to one another,” he said. “Therefore, we pre-recorded our Choir as a ‘Virtual Choir’ where each singer adds their part one at a time to maximize social distancing. We then edited all the singers together and the end result is beautiful.”
In addition to the Virtual Choir, the Worship Band, Children’s Choir, Grace Notes Women’s Ensemble, Miracle Bluegrass Band, Handbell Choir, and soloists will all be sharing songs.
A special drama is part of this year’s Celebrate the Season and for the first time; dance is included in the services.
The Rev. Chris Ritter, directing pastor, will share a special message each Sunday drawn from the narrative of the Christmas story found in the Gospel of Luke.
“Although not being able to worship in person is quite a blow to us, our thriving online ministries are helping us connect with lots of new people," Ritter said. "We are approaching this Christmas season as an opportunity to bring the message of Jesus into new homes.”
“We all need hope in this season,” he said. “The story of Christmas is ‘Immanuel, God is with us.’ My prayer is that people will experience God’s presence with them in deeper ways as we move through this season. The music and arts that have been prepared for ‘Celebrate the Season’ will highlight the hope we share.”
For questions or more information, email Brinkman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 309-944-2793.