Area churches offering their Christmas messages this weekend

PUNXSUTAWNEY —There are numerous ways to show one’s holiday spirit, and this weekend, the churches of Punxsutawney are offering a variety of those expressions.

Two churches in particular — the First United Methodist Church and the Punxsutawney Alliance Church — are hosting their own programs to deliver the Christmas message this weekend.

For weeks, the First United Methodist Church Choir has been practicing, hard at work for its program, titled “Come, Let Us Worship the King.”

The program started Friday, but will have a second show tonight at 7 p.m. and a finale at 10:45 a.m. during church services at the church on the corner of West Mahoning and Church streets.

The program is being directed by Worship Director Doug Temchulla and will feature Pastor James Pond performing with the choir and orchestra.
Sunday evening will offer yet another opportunity to experience the Christmas spirit in a unique fashion, as the Punxsutawney Alliance Church — located at the intersection of Alliance Drive and Route 436 in Young Township — will present “The Best Chrismast Pageant Ever” at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“Normally, every Christmas, we do a separate children’s play and choir cantata, but we decided to combine both groups of people and do
an all-church Christmas production,” said Melanie McBee, co-director of the program.

The selection of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” was the idea of the church’s Worship Director and “Mrs. Bradley” in the play, Karen Blough, McBee said.

Blough loved to watch the television version and thought it would be fun to do.

“She approached my husband, John McBee, who is the Drama Coordinator about the feasibility of doing it. He said, “let’s go for it,” said Melanie.

“It has parts for all ages both male and female so it seemed like a good fit,” she said.

McBee said it is a good play to bring a friend or relative who might not be familiar with the Christmas story, as the play presents it in a very unique and non-threatening way.

She said the story involves the Bradley family that has taken over the annual church Christmas pageant.

McBee said Grace Bradley is not real happy about it, but she decides she is going to do it.

“The bad kids in town, the Herdmans, show up and decide to take over the Christmas pageant,” she said.

McBee said the Herdmans volunteer for all of the parts so Grace is faced with the task of putting this pageant on with these bad kids who know nothing about the story of Christmas, and so she has to explain it to them.

She said there are mishaps and the entire production is in jeopardy.
“Grace is worried it is going to be the worst pageant ever,” McBee said, adding that it turns out to be one of the best.

“The Herdmans learn through the process what the true meaning of Christmas is and people realize they shouldn’t judge anybody by how they look,” she said.

McBee said the pageant is fun and is full of people of all ages.

“We have parents, choir people, little kids and Sunday School kids, and they’re all involved,” McBee said.

She said it is a play that has been made into a movie and done in a story book for children. It is a fun comedy for the whole family, but has a special message at the same time.

For more information call the church office at 938-8505.