10894823097?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Council of Catholic Women of St. Lucy Church in Highland Beach has decorated its Giving Tree for the season. The tree is adorned with donation requests for underserved people in the community. To support them and brighten their holidays, parishioners select a recipient and shop or donate items requested on the paper angels decorating the tree. Recipients of this goodwill are local groups: AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse), Birthline/lifeline (which helps pregnant women and their babies), Fisher House (a group that supports veterans and their families), and St. Mary’s of Pahokee (a church in western Palm Beach County).  
ABOVE: (l-r) CCW members Diana Barrens, Glenn O’Neill, Mary Alice Dill and Rose Bond at the debut of the Giving Tree.  Photo provided

By Janis Fontaine

St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church’s Spontaneous Christmas Pageant is on hiatus for one more year, says children’s minster Dee Zlatic, wife of Pastor Marty Zlatic.
The showcase of children from the congregation is a popular event, filling the church to overflowing. Coronavirus infections may be down, but church leaders decided on a safer outdoor celebration again in 2022.
The church will host its third Drive-thru Bethlehem from 4-5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Church members have created a series of vignettes with live actors that tell the Nativity story, and guests drive through the Boynton Beach campus using a simple prayer sheet to follow along. Christmas hymns and carols will be broadcast between stations. There is also a stay-in-your-car Communion station at the end. 
Also at St. Joe’s: A special fundraiser will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 3. This Santa’s Workshop will feature unusual handmade gifts by people in Madagascar. The sale will raise money to bring a group to perform Miaraka: A Time to Dance, a musical about redemption, at three churches in Palm Beach County in March.
The gifts include handmade fabrics and bead necklaces made from upcycled magazine paper. Bring your dull knives for sharpening. A Christmas cookie sale and a hot dog lunch are also planned.
For more information, call the church at 561-732-3060 or visit www.stjoesweb.org.

Happy Anniversary
St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton will celebrate its 69th anniversary on Dec. 4 with a brunch after the 10 a.m. service.
The festivities include raffles and a silent auction that features yacht trips and intimate dinners.
One of the most coveted dinners is the one with the auction winner and the Rt. Rev. Peter Eaton, bishop of the Diocese of Southeast Florida, enjoying a meal prepared by the Rev. Andrew Sherman and his family. The money raised supports the church’s missions. Call 561-395-8285.
Other noteworthy events at St. Gregory’s:
• Open house: On Dec. 11, after each service, the church will host an open house at the rectory. Come and have tea, coffee and pastries and meet the church leaders.
• Bake sale: On Dec. 18 the Episcopal Church Women will hold a bake sale after services. Proceeds support the ECW’s missions.

Children’s Christmas show
First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach presents the children’s choir in its first evening performance of its Christmas pageant, “Sing with us the Christmas Story,” at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 in the church’s sanctuary. This short musical tells the story of the first Christmas. A reception follows in Fellowship Hall where guests can meet the performers. Free.
First Presbyterian is at 33 Gleason St. Call 561-276-6338 or visit https://firstdelray.com.
Also happening at First Presbyterian Church:
• The Deacons’ Christmas Tree, which raises money to provide 300 $25 gift cards to children in our community, supports these five agencies: Achievement Centers for Children & Families, Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse), Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, and Milagro Center.
Here’s how you can help this more than 50-year-old tradition: Mail a check with “Deacons’ Xmas Tree” on the memo line. Drop off a check in the lobby offering box. Or easiest: Donate at https://firstdelray.com/give. Include “Deacons’ Xmas Tree” in the notes section.
• The Holly House Holiday Gift Shop is still open for shopping from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, until Dec. 18. Call 561-330-0245.

Music at St. Paul’s  
Music at St. Paul’s rings in the holidays with its annual concert, A Festival of Lessons & Carols, at 3 p.m. Dec. 11.
The concert features the Chancel Choir of St. Paul’s under the direction of David Macfarlane and will also feature congregational Christmas carols and lighting of candles. Organ voluntaries by César Franck and Gerald Near will be played on the Moeller pipe organ.
“A series of readings leading from the Hebrew scripture prophecies to the New Testament birth story is complemented with Christmas carols from a variety of traditions to create a beautiful, seasonal celebration,” Macfarlane said.
 A Festival of Lessons & Carols is open to the public, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is handicapped accessible. A freewill offering supports Music at St. Paul’s programming.
The church is at 188 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. 561-276-4541 or https://musicstpauls.org.  

Happy Hanukkah!
Old School Square will again host the lighting of the menorah at sundown on Dec. 18, the first night of Hanukkah.
Rabbi Shmuel Biston of Chabad of East Delray, who will speak again this year, expects a record turnout. Previous years have drawn crowds of more than 1,500 people.
Delray Beach Police Chief Russ Mager has been asked to light the first candle.
An Israeli Beatles tribute band, in town for the Beatles on the Beach festival, will perform, Biston said. There also will be games for the kids and lots of festive treats.
Old School Square is at 51 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach.

Send religion news to Janis Fontaine at fontaine423@outlook.com

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