Rockin’ Gospel Holiday Concert today

Rock My Soul, a 20-member secular choir that specializes in lively, roots-based gospel, and its “sister group,” The RMS Five, a five-member vocal ensemble that specializes in rich harmonies and unique arrangements of roots, Americana and gospel, will perform a Rockin’ Gospel Holiday CD Release Concert today at First Parish Church of Newbury, 20 High Road, Newbury. The concert begins at 4 p.m.; doors open at 3:30 p.m. A New Christmas CD by The RMS Five will be available for sale, along with refreshments and merchandise.

Christmas Cookie Sale in Merrimac

A Christmas Cookie Sale hosted by Merrimacport United Methodist Church will be held today from noon to 4 p.m. at the Merrimac Senior Center, 100 East Main St., Merrimac. The public is invited to buy decorative cookies in a festive atmosphere. There will also be free cookie decorating for kids. For more information, call 978-346-8989 or visit

Advent season at Georgetown church

The following events are scheduled at First Congregational Church of Georgetown, 7 Andover St., 978-352-8443,

Today from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. is Project Day Fundraiser (gather together to finish up last-minute projects before Christmas), $25 per person, breakfast, lunch and dinner served.

Tomorrow, the Christmas Pageant will be performed at 10:30 a.m.; Caroling around town and cookies at 2 p.m. (meet at the church) and “A Christmas Carol” at 7:30 p.m. at the Meeting House, Ipswich, sponsored by the Music Team.

Christmas Eve Candlelight and Carols will be held at 7 p.m.

New England Tenors at IC tomorrow

The New England Tenors will perform in a Holiday Concert tomorrow, 2 to 4 p.m., at Immaculate Conception Church, 42 Green St., Newburyport. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under. For more information, contact Jan Kolman at 978-462-3339 or

1871 organ in spotlight for Holy Family concert

An 1871 Simmons-built pipe organ will be the centerpiece of Holy Family Parish in Amesbury’s Christmas Concert, titled “Sweet Sounds of the Christmas Season,” tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the parish’s upper church.

Built by William Benjamin Dearborn Simmons of Cambridge, an innovator in the use of tempered tuning and of steam-powered machinery in construction, the organ features Germanic qualities.

Showcasing the historic organ will be parish organists David Morrow and Jack Rogers, along with Holy Family’s Traditional Choir under the direction of Margaret Doyle. Also performing will be the Contemporary Ensemble, Men’s Prayer Group, Children’s Festival Choir and the Holy Family Sing-A-Long Singers.

The concert is open to all; a free will offering will be taken. Refreshments will be served immediately following the concert in the lower church.

Candlelight Service at First Religious Society on Christmas

The First Religious Society in Newburyport is holding its 87th annual Christmas Candlelight Service on Sunday at 7:15 p.m.

The traditional carol service will feature music from three choirs, a brass ensemble and the newly restored pipe organ. Treasured tunes of the season will be performed such as “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel” and “Angels We Have Heard On High,” along with musical pieces from around the world.

Advent at

St. Paul’s Church

Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church, 166 High St., Newburyport, the topic will be “Simplify Christmas.” Dreaming of the perfect Christmas? This is the time of year when we are encouraged to be merry, but many end up feeling overwhelmed and burnt out preparing for merriment. This will help people reflect on how to simplify Christmas preparation and focus on the most enjoyable aspects. For more information, see:

Christmas Eve: 4 p.m. Service of Holy Eucharist with Paper Bag Pageant; 9 p.m., Music program followed by Holy Eucharist.

Christmas Day, 9 a.m., Holy Eucharist.

Among Friends Meal Program will serve dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24, and lunch on Christmas day at 11:30 a.m. — all are welcome.

Longest Night service Thursday

The Greater Newburyport Clergy Association is sponsoring a Longest Night Worship Service on Thursday at Central Congregational Church. This is a quiet service of reflection for those feeling loss during the holiday season. Music will be provided by the Central Church Gospel Choir and musicians Brian Roche and Lauren Lee. The service is open to all in the greater Newburyport area.

Central Congregational Church is located in downtown Newburyport across from Brown Square at the corner of Pleasant and Titcomb streets. For information, call 978-456-0533.

Union Church concert, spaghetti supper

On Saturday, Dec. 22, Union Congregational is holding an all-you-can-eat Spaghetti Supper from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The menu will include spaghetti with homemade sauce, meatballs, bread, salad and dessert. Tickets are $7 per person, $24 for families. Take-out meals are available for $8.

The church’s annual Candlelight Christmas Concert will follow the Spaghetti Supper at 7 p.m. Sponsored by Friends of Union Church, the concert will feature performers Cat Mathews, Cheri Christenson, Eric Radcliffe, Nancy Tutunjian-Berger, Rosemary Mijal and Tom Whateley. Admission to the concert is free.

The church has ample parking and is handicapped accessible. Call the church at 978-388-0631 for more on any of the events, or visit

Advent Services

at Central Congregational

Thursday, 7 p.m., Longest Night Service: This is a quiet service of reflection for those feeling loss during the holiday season. Music will be provided by the Central Church Gospel Choir and musicians Brian Roche and Lauren Lee. Sponsored by the Greater Newburyport Clergy Association.

Christmas Eve services: 4 p.m., Family Service: This is a lively service with music by the Central Church Christmas Band. 7 p.m., Traditional Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols with music by the Chancel Choir.

For information call 978-465-0533.

St. James Church Christmas celebration

St. James Episcopal Church, 120 Main St., Amesbury, will celebrate Christmas beginning with Christmas Eve Services at 4 p.m. featuring Holy Eucharist, Rite II, a family-friendly service with our Godly Play Pageant and Christmas Songs and at 8 p.m. with Holy Eucharist, Rite I, with choir and music.

On Christmas Day, there will be one service at 10 a.m., Holy Eucharist, Rite II.

All are welcome to join in the church’s Christmas celebration.

Beginning on Jan. 10, the women of faith will meet every other Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information on events and programs at St. James, visit

Immaculate Conception Christmas Masses

Immaculate Conception Parish in Newburyport has announced its Christmas Mass schedule.

On Christmas Eve, Masses will be held at 4 p.m. in the school auditorium and 6 p.m. in the church and at midnight in the church.

On Christmas Day, Mass will be held at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the church.

Call the parish at 978-462-2724 for more.

Lutheran church Christmas Eve

Candlelight Christmas Eve worship will be held at 5 and 7 p.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Route 1, Topsfield.

Unity on the River holiday schedule

Unity on the River, 58 Macy St. (Route 110), Amesbury, will hold Christmas Eve services starting at 4 p.m. with a children’s service followed by candlelight services at both 5:30 and 7 p.m.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, a Bowl Service to energetically release what is no longer needed will be held at 10 a.m.

On Monday, Dec. 31, at 7 p.m., a New Year’s Eve Service involving a White Stone Ceremony allowing participants to claim their expression of themselves for the new year will be held.

For more, call 978-834-7830 or visit

Christmas Eve service, pageant at Market St. Baptist

The Market Street Baptist Church will hold their Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Service & Pageant at the church on 37 Market St., Amesbury. The Nativity Story is presented in pageant form along with hymns of celebration of Christ’s birth and is suitable for all ages. All are welcome from 5 to 6 p.m. in the sanctuary, which is accessible by elevator.

Christmas services at Pilgrim Church

Worship on Christmas Sunday, Dec. 23, at 10 a.m. at Pilgrim Congregational Church will include special music; the worship service will celebrate the birth of Christ.

A traditional Christmas Eve service will begin at 11 p.m. The Christmas Eve worship service includes readings and music and concludes with a candle-lit singing of “Silent Night” at midnight.

Fully accessible, Pilgrim Church is located at 27 Church St. in Merrimac. For more, call the church office at 978-346-8400.

Christmas services at First Religious Society

On Sunday, Dec. 23, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Religious Society, 26 Pleasant St., Newburyport, the Rev. Harold Babcock will present a sermon titled “Time Out.” We could all use a little “intermission” this time of year. The holiday season can be exhausting. Could it also be an opportunity for time out? The sermon will investigate.

On Christmas Eve at 5 p.m., there will be a Family Christmas Eve Candlelight Service appropriate for all ages. It features a story, traditional carols and readings, special music and individual candle-lighting. A free-will offering will be taken at the conclusion of the service to support the Unitarian Partner Church in the Transylvania region of Romania.

Service at Belleville Congregational on Christmas Eve

The traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve Family service begins at 7 p.m. in the Meeting House located at 300 High St., Newburyport. The service features lessons, stories and carols, special choral music and the Children’s Choir will perform “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” There will be a meditation by the Rev. Ross Varney. The service will have an invitation to encircle the sanctuary and sharing of the Light while singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The Meeting House is handicapped accessible.

Christmas Eve Candlelight

Services at Hope

Hope Community Church will hold its traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve services on at 5 and 7 p.m. Each service includes carols, special music, candles and hot mulled cider afterwards. All ages welcome to these services. Hope Community Church is located at 11 Hale St. in Newburyport.

Events at Congregation Ahavas Achim

Upcoming events at Congregation Ahavas Achim, corner of Washington and Olive streets, Newburyport:

Shabbat services every Saturday morning at 9.

Adult Ed with Rabbi Avi Poupko, every Wednesday night at 7:30 starting Jan. 23.

Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m., Friday Night Lights.

Jan. 13, 4 p.m., Israeli Dancing with Fran Kaplan.

Jan. 20, Hebrew School outing to Amesbury Sports Park.

Jan. 26, 4:30 p.m., Havdallah program and Tu B’Shvat Seder.

Jan. 27, 10:30 a.m. Interested in learning more about Congregation Ahavas Achim? Join us for Bagels and Schmooze.

Belleville Church thrift shop

The Belleville Church thrift shop at 300 High St., Newburyport, is open. Hours are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Volunteer opportunity

Looking for a way for your business, church group, club, organization or yourself to give back to the community? The Salvation Army, 40 Water St., offers the following:

Community meal served every Thursday. Each week a different group of six to 12 people prepares and serves the meal to about 80 people. Time required is two to four hours, including preparation, serving and cleanup. Call 978-465-0883, ext. 10, for more information.

Centering prayer at St. James

St. James Episcopal Church in Amesbury offers centering prayer as one of its Saturday alternative services. Centering, or contemplative prayer, is a meditation practice based on the work of the Rev. Thomas Keating, who believes that silence is “God’s first language.” St. James will continue to offer a twice-weekly opportunity for centering prayer in the meditation chapel. Those interested in participating or learning more should call St. James at 978-388-0030 or check the website,

Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Friends of Greater Newburyport Chapter meet every fourth Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Immaculate Conception Parish Center, St. James Chapel Room, corner of Green and High streets, Newburyport. The meetings are for parents who have lost children and grandparents who have lost grandchildren. For more information, call 978-388-1514.

Tuesday meal at Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception Church offers a free hot dinner every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Parish Center, 42 Green St., Newburyport. Call 978-462-2724 for more information.

The Friendship Table

For all who enjoy good food and fellowship, the Friendship Table serves meals Thursdays beginning at 5 p.m. at the Salvation Army, 40 Water St., Newburyport. Volunteers are also needed. For more information, call 978-465-0883.

Our Neighbors’ Table

Free meals are served every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Our Neighbors’ Table, Main Street Congregational Church, 145 Main St., Amesbury. All are welcome. Our Neighbors’ Table also offers the following food pantries: Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-noon every Saturday, open to residents of Amesbury and South Hampton; last Saturday of the month: open to residents of Amesbury, South Hampton, Merrimac, Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Groveland, Byfield, Boxford, Rowley and Georgetown.

St. Basil’s Kitchen

The Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Harris and Park streets, Newburyport, offers free luncheons Mondays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the church hall. All those hungry for food and companionship are welcome. For more information or to volunteer services, call 978-465-5757.

Among Friends

Among Friends is the mission of St. Paul’s Church to provide nutritious, hot, home-cooked meals. Lunch is served every Tuesday and Friday at 11:30 a.m. in St. Paul’s Hall, 166 High St., Newburyport. Evening Among Friends serves home-cooked meals every Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. All are welcome. Donations of food items, supplies and services are needed; call 465-5351.

Seabrook Community Table

Every Monday Seabrook Community Table serves free meals at the Church of Christ at 867 Lafayette Road (beside the dance studio) from 5 to 6 p.m. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, meals are served at the Trinity Parish House (beside the Seabrook Post Office) from 5 to 6 p.m. Meals are offered to residents of surrounding communities as well as Seabrook residents. For more information or to volunteer, contact Joyce Addison, 603-474-9608.

Seabrook food pantry

The Seabrook Church of Christ Food Pantry is open every Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. to all who live on the Seacoast. The church is on Lafayette Road, Seabrook, 603-474-2660.

Community Food Pantry in Byfield

The Community Food Pantry located at Community United Methodist Church, 11 Central St., Byfield, is open to residents of Byfield and Newbury every Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. In addition, a free community meal will be offered every second and fourth Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.

For more details, contact the Community Food Pantry at or by phone at 978-255-0135.

If you have an item for Church Notes, contact Merrily Buchs at, 978-462-6666, ext. 3248.

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