Parishioners at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborugh, began their Christmas outreach early this year, with both social and charitable activities in November. Members and friends collected warm clothing and prepared meals for the Northampton-based Cathedral in the Night, wrapped sweatshirts a month in advance for the local Sweats for Vets program, and knitted and shopped for Christmas gifts for merchant marines through Seafarers International House’s Christmas at Sea program. The Senior Friends met in November and decorated more than a dozen gingerbread houses for their own homes.
Now that Advent has begun, activities have not stopped. Dozens of Secret Santas at St. Stephen Lutheran Church shopped for area children through the Hope for the Holidays initiative and on December 6, members delivered Christmas gifts for 41 children.
Advent worship services continue on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, now through December 20. Recognizing that Christmas is sometimes a sad or stressful time, the December 20 service will be a “Darkest Night” offering. Traditionally held on or near the longest night of the year, it provides an opportunity for lament and healing during a time that is difficult for some.
On Sunday, December 24, there will be no morning service, but Festive Christmas Eve worship, with choir, bells, and carols, will take place at 5 p.m. Christmas morning worship will be at 10 am, and communion will be offered at both Christmas services.
For more information about the church, visit www.sslcma.org or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org). The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Stow, Bolton and Worcester.