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Some of the servicemen and women got big smiles on their face when they were handed their Christmas tree. Others gave volunteers a hug. One little girl toddled around the makeshift tree lot to help her father pick out the perfect tree for their family.
And all of the military personnel stationed at Fort Bragg who received one of the 115 Christmas trees last week from Wake Forest Baptist Church were grateful for the gift.
Many of the people wouldnt be able to afford a Christmas tree otherwise, said Dave Shannon, organizer of Tree Angels for Troops. Since many of the servicemen and women have children, a Christmas tree is a big part of their celebration.
Having a tree means the world to them.
Several years ago, members of the church learned that many military families are on such fixed incomes that they have to choose between purchasing a tree or buying presents to put underneath. The church decided that in addition to selling Christmas trees over the holidays, they would donate trees to help families serving our country.
Each year, the church collects donations and loads up as many trees as they can afford to purchase on a truck headed south to Fayetteville. The volunteers work with the chaplains at the Army base to determine which soldiers are in need of Christmas trees. Then they spend the day helping the soldiers pick out their trees.
It really is a privilege for us to be able to show the love of Christ to people who are putting their lives on the line for our country and to keep each of us safe, Shannon said.
High-Joy, Low-key Hanukkah FUNdraiser
Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community is having its third annual High-Joy, Low-key Hanukkah FUNdraiser: A Very Yiddish Hanukkah from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Irregardless Café, 901 W. Morgan St., Raleigh. The event includes dessert, latkes, music and laughter with entertainment provided by Cantor Karen Kumin, Freylach Time Klezmer Band and storyteller Scott Davis with a world-premier tale, Reb Zalmans Menorah. An $18 donation is requested, but not required. To RSVP, email email@example.com.
Mexican Christmas Celebration
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church is celebrating Las Posadas, a Mexican Christmas tradition, after the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the church, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh. Las Posadas literally translates to the inns or the lodgings and symbolizes the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. Attendees will process through the campus singing and will then invite Mary and Joseph to come inside the Fellowship Hall. The churchs Latino brothers and sisters will perform a pastorela with dinner and dancing following the performance. The re-enactment is free; dinner tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 1-8. For more information, call 919-847-8205 or visit www.stfrancisraleigh.org.
The following churches are holding Christmas concerts and cantatas:
Soapstone United Methodist Church: 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services, Sunday, Dec. 16, at 12837 Norwood Road, Raleigh. The music ministry will perform The Wonder of Christmas with worshippers invited to sing along. For more information, call 919-846-2212 or visit www.soapstoneumc.org.
Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church: 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4415 Pleasant Grove Church Road, Raleigh. The chancel choir along with an instrumental ensemble of 11 musicians will perform Emmanuel - God With Us, a contemporary lessons and carols service. Child care is provided. For more information, call 919-787-7763 or visit www.pgumc.org.
St. Giles Presbyterian: 11 a.m. worship service, Sunday, Dec. 16, at 5101 Oak Park Road, Raleigh. A Night for Rejoicing tells the story of how God became one of us in Jesus the Christ. Refreshments will be served after the service. For more information, visit www.saintgiles.org or call 919-787-4790.
Falls Baptist Church: 11 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 16. The youth will perform a Christmas drama at the church, 9700 Fonville Road, Wake Forest. Members will also go caroling at 6:45 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19. For more information, call 919-847-0870 or visit www.fallsbaptist.com.
Hillyer Memorial Christian Church: 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at 718 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. The Hillyer Community Chorus will sing Shepherds Farewell by Hector Berlioz, Solemn Vespers by Wolfgang Mozart and Koncert Stuck by Bill Rashleigh. For more information, call 919-834-7214 or visit www.hillyerchurch.org.
Sacred Heart Cathedral: 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at 200 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. The chancel choir will present A Festival of Nine Lessons at Carols. For more information, call 919-832-6030 or visit www.sacredheartcathedral.org.
Hudson Memorial Presbyterian: 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4921 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The Christmas Joy Celebration will feature Jacquelyn Culpepper, acclaimed opera singer and currently artist associate of voice at Davidson College, along with the chancel choir, Hudson Handbell Ringers, Hudson Youth Ensemble and childrens choir. A reception will follow. For more information, call 919-787-1086 or visit www.hmpc.org.
Advent Candlelight Worship in the Round
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church is holding a Candlelight Advent Worship in the Round at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the chapel, 1801 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. The service will include prayers, music, poetry and quiet reflection time by candlelight. Parking is available at the Hilton Hotel. For more information, call 919-828-0897 or visit www.pullen.org.
Fourth Saturday Breakfast book club
Unity Church of Raleigh is having its Fourth Saturday Breakfast Book Club from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 22, at the church, 11101 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. The book club will discuss Christian Healing by Charles Fillmore, which offers readers basic principles of healing. Books are $14.95 with a 10 percent discount for attendees, and a love offering will be collected. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.unitychurchofraleigh.org.
Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at email@example.com.