OUR SAVIOR LUTHERAN CHURCH, 4933 S. Seventh St., Living Nativity, 7 and 8 p.m. Dec. 12-14. Free. The re-enactment is on the west side of the church. Church members, and a variety of animals, portray the Christmas story in an outdoor setting. A recorded narration and music tell the story. Performance lasts about 20 minutes. Rustic seating available or watch from your car.
BROADVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH, 2500 S. 27th St., “The Gifts of Christmas,” Dec. 3, 10, 17, and Dec. 24. Services will be at 8:25, 9:40 and 11 a.m. on Dec. 3, 10, and 17.On Christmas Eve, which falls on Sunday this year, services will be at 9 and 11 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m. The series began Nov. 26 with “The Gift of Hope.” Subsequent “gifts” are “The Gift of Love,” Dec. 3, “The Gift of Joy,” Dec. 10, “The Gift of Peace, Dec. 17,” and “The Gift of Jesus,” Dec. 24.


ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH, 2801 Antilley Road, Dec. 16, 5:30 p.m. meal, followed by children’s Christmas program at 6:30.


ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2525 Westview Drive, Las Posadas, Dec. 16-24. The observance will begin at 7 p.m. each day except Dec. 24, when it will begin at 5 p.m. On. Dec. 16 and 24, the observance will be held at St. Vincent. It will rotate among homes of members on other nights. Las Posadas (“shelter” or “inn”) is a novenario or nine days of religious observance celebrated chiefly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage in the United States. Families participate in nightly Christmas processions that re-create Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging before Jesus’ birth.

PARAMOUNT THEATRE, 352 Cypress St., 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Handel’s “Messiah,” Abilene Opera Association, Abilene Chamber Singers, live orchestra directed by David Itkin. Soloists include Jennifer Youngs, Lynnette Chambers. Jeffrey Snider & Samuel Cook. For tickets, go to http://www.abileneopera.org or call 325-67-OPERA.

THE GRACE MUSEUM, 102 Cypress St., Dec. 18-21–Advent Speaker Series, 12:15 p.m. daily. Music ministers will present the music of their faith.

TEMPLE MIZPAH, 849 Chestnut St., 6 p.m. Dec. 22 Hanukkah dinner and service, with Monica Braverman, cantor, presiding. Reservations required by Dec. 20. RSVP to Barbara Pollack, 675-9935. $5; free for active duty military and family. Hanukkah, which is observed this year Dec. 13-20, is an eight-day Jewish festival of lights that begins at sundown on the first day. The observance is based the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple in 165-164 B.C.E. The story tells of the miraculous oil lamp that burned for eight days when it was filled with oil sufficient for only one day. A major symbol of Hanukkah is the eight-candle menorah.

FLYING J WRANGLERS will bring its Christmas tour, “Celebrate Christmas The Western Way,” to Abilene Dec. 19. The show will begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 19, Ticket prices are $15 in advance at https://holdmyticket.com/tickets/298734
$20 cash only at the door
$10 cash only if nursing home or senior center resident
Kids free

WYLIE BAPTIST CHURCH, 6097 Buffalo Gap Road, 35th annual Living Christmas Tree, Dec. 7-10. Times are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8; 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9; 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets are free, but required. Call 692-3206 to reserve tickets by phone or for more information. Tickets can be picked up at the church. “Journey of Christmas” will feature a 75-voice choir, 35-member drama cast, and all new music.


FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, 1333 N. 3rd St., will be the host site for the ACU Department of Music’s Christmas Vespers service, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10. The program is titled, “Rise Up and Follow.” and will feature 200 student musicians from the A Cappella Chorus, University Chorale, Chamber Singers, and the Civic Orchestra of Abilene.

ABILENE CONVENTION CENTER, 1100 N. Sixth St., Feast of Sharing, 13th annual holiday meal sponsored by H.E.B. grocery store, 4-8 p.m. Dec. 5. Free dinner. Everyone invited.

GRACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 1402 Grape St., will hold its annual Christmas Store in the fellowship hall 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday., Dec. 9. Gifts, craft items, baked goods, jellies, candies and toys are available for sale at reasonable prices. Also, a soup, cracker, and tea lunch will be served 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for $4. All money raised will be used for the free Thursday night meals. In addition, wooden Christmas trees for outdoor decorating, made by the handbell choir at Cooper High School, will be for sale. Money raised from the sale of the trees will go toward the choir’s trip to a Texas Rangers game in the spring.

PIONEER DRIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, 701 S. Pioneer Drive, 9 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 10, Celebration Choir and Orchestra musical, sanctuary; 6 p.m. Dec. 17, The Nelons in concert, free. The Nelons recently were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.



There will be three services on Sunday, Dec. 24. The first will celebrate Advent IV at 8 a.m. There will be two Christmas Eve services. Special music for the first service begins at 4 p.m. with Holy Eucharist at 4:30 p.m.

Special music for the second service begins at 8 p.m. with Holy Eucharist at 8:30 p.m. On Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25, Heavenly Rest will celebrate Holy Eucharist with Baptisms at 10 a.m. If you have any questions, please contact the church office at  677-2091.

ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH, 2801 Antilley Road, Regular worship, 8:30 and 10:45 a.m. Christmas Eve candlelight worship with communion, 6:30 p.m.

PIONEER DRIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, 701 S. Pioneer Drive, 5 p.m. silent Lord’s Supper, sanctuary; 6:30 p.m. Celebration Service, sanctuary; 6:30 p.m. The Gathering service, conference center

9 a.m. Dec. 22, Royal Hours of the Nativity of Christ
10 a.m. Dec. 24, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for the Sunday Before Christmas
10 p.m. Dec. 24, Matins for the Nativity of Christ; 11 p.m., Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great for the Nativity of Christ

Visitors are welcome at all services.


Mission: Thanksgiving, benefiting Love & Care Ministries in Abilene, Clyde, and Merkel, will be held Friday, Nov. 17.

The annual drive is for collection of bottled water, canned goods, clothing, and cash for the ministries. Hours at all three locations will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The location in Abilene will be the Arrow Ford parking lot, 4001 S. 1st St. In Clyde, the drive will be at the Love & Care site, 605 S. 1st St. Merkel’s location will be at 906 N. 3rd St.


Tickets are on sale now for the Nov. 18 Christmas concert featuring David Phelps. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at the Abilene Convention Center.

PhelpsPoster copy.001 (1)Proceeds from the concert will benefit Abilene Hope Haven, whose mission is “to inspire hope in the lives of our neighbors experiencing homelessness.”

David Phelps is a multi-Dove and Grammy Award winner. He and his band will be performing non-seasonal hits as well as many of Christmas favorites.

For more information, call 325-677-4673. Group tickets are available by calling 870-722-8565.


The next Cafe Conversations will be 7- 9 p.m. Nov. 16 at Mezamiz Coffee House, 3909 S. Seventh St. The topic for this month is religion and the public sphere. Questions to be addressed include: What constitutes our democratic values? Can one be religious and democratic? Should a person of faith enter into the public domain and influence policy? How should people of various faiths engage in creating and voting on public policy?


Scott Dettra, former principal organist at the Washington National Cathedral, will present a concert at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander.


Scott Dettra

The public is invited to the free concert. The concert is part of the church’s Chamber Music Concert Series. Dettra is one of the leading American concert organists of his generation. He combines an active performance schedule with his post as director of music and organist at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas.

Dettra’s playing is known for its poetry, rhythmic intensity, and musical elegance, and has been widely acclaimed. Of his solo recital at the 2014 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston, The American Organist described it as “music making of absolute authority and sophisticated expression, one of the week’s high points.”

Among Dettra’s performance venues are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Houston, San Diego, Phoenix, Kansas City, Barbados, Canada, and Germany.

For more information, go to www.heavenlyrestabilene.org or call 677-2091.–Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest news release


”The Reformation at 500 Years: Necessary Correction or Divisive Mistake: How Should it Shape Christians Today” will be the topic of a panel discussion at 4 p.m. Nov. 14 in the chapel of the Biblical Studies Building at Abilene Christian University. The panel will consist of John Armstrong, president of ACT3 Network, and Ryan Rojo, parochial vicar of the Cathedral Church of the Sacred Heart in San Angelo. Armstrong, a historian and ecumenist, participated in the production of the video documentary on the Reformation, “This Changed Everything.” The event is free and open to the public. 



When: 4 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9
Where: Abilene Christian University Biblical Studies Building Room 114
Speaker: Mark Goodacre, professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University
Topic:  “Transforming Gospels: Exploring John’s Relationship to the Other Three.”
Admission: Free; public invited
More information: email csart@acu.edu.

Mark Goodacre, professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University, will be guest lecturer Thursday, Nov. 9, for the 31st annual Carmichael-Walling Lectures at Abilene Christian University.

Mark Goodacre

Mark Goodacre

Goodacre will speak on “Transforming Gospels: Exploring John’s Relationship to the Other Three.”  The lectures, sponsored by ACU’s Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts, are free and open to the public.

Jeff Childers, director of the center, said in a news release that Goodacre will speak on the complex and controversial question of the relationship between the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Goodacre will speak at 4 p.m. on “John’s Dramatic Transformation of the Synoptics” and at 7 p.m. on “John’s Christological Transformation of the Synoptics.”

“He will explore John’s knowledge of the Synoptics as revealed in the way the evangelist casts their narratives in the dramatic mode” Childers said in the release.

“Also, he will address surprising and typically understated similarities in the Christology of the Synoptics and John.”

Goodacre is the author of numerous articles and books. He also edits New Testament Gateway, a website devoted to New Testament studies.


Sometimes forgotten in all the trick-or-treating and dressing up on Halloween is the cultural event known as Dia de los Muertos.

Despite the name, Day of the Dead, the observance is a fun cultural experience, which lasts Oct. 31-Nov. 2. In Hispanic cultures, observances include spending time in a cemetery where loved ones are buried. Flowers, pictures, and food that the deceased once favored might be placed on graves as part of the observance. Cleaning of the gravesites and praying the rosary often is part of the observance, too, much like Memorial Day.

Locally, the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest will have an event on Wednesday evening as part of the regular programming. Children have been making items for an “ofrenda” or offering, under the direction of Mitsi Willard, interim director of children’s ministry. Those items will be on display Wednesday evening.

For the second year, the Grace Museum is hosting an evening of fun activities tied to the day. The Grace family night event  will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 2). Everything is free, including supplies for decorating non-edible sugar skulls, creating a community ofrenda, face painting, mural painting, bilingual book readings and a performance at 6:30 p.m. by the Ballet Folklorico del Big Country.

The Tacolote food truck will be parked outside for food to purchase. A special attraction will be an appearance by La Catrina, who will read to the children. The character is based on “La Calavera Catrina,” a 1910-1913 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker and lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada. The image in the painting depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat, like an upper class lady would wear.

If the weather is good, events will be held in the courtyard. If not, they will move inside to the ballroom. Last year’s bad weather couldn’t dampen the spirits.


The next Cafe Conversation will be held 7-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at Mezamiz Coffeehouse. South Seventh and Leggett streets.

Topic will be religious experience and conversion. Sample questions include “What counts for religious experience?” “Are there different types of religious experience according to different traditions?” and “Is religious experience required for being religious?”

Cafe conversations are a spinoff of the Abilene Interfaith Council. Everyone is invited to the free discussions. Meetings are held once a month.


Sonflower Women’s Ministry is hosting a craft and bake sale 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the First Church of the Nazarene, 2849 Beltway South.

Over 45 local crates will be selling holiday items, embroidery, jewelry, home-baked and hand-made goods, wood crafts, and more.  Also, a silent auction will help pay for improvements to the sanctuary.

Youths of the church will man a concession stand, with proceeds benefiting their endeavors.

For more information, email Carol at  carolhehn11@gmail.com


Quite a few churches are hosting Halloween events, either on Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31, or before.

Following is a partial listing:

  • Zion Lutheran Church, 2801 Antilley Road–Trunk-or-Treat, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. Food, prizes for best decorated cars, pumpkin patch for family photos.
  • Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St.–The youth will be hosting Trunk-or-Treat 5-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31. The event will take place in the parking lot outside of the Youth House. All are welcome! If you would like to donate candy for the event, you can drop the treats at the church on Sundays, or at the church office during the week. This will be a fun and safe place for the community to come!
  • Lytle South Baptist Church, 1125 E. Industrial Blvd.–Fall Festival, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31. Free admission,  food, candy, superheroes, games. For all ages.
  • First Central Presbyterian Church, 400 Orange St.–Trunk N Treat will be from 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29. Bring costumes, kids, and candy!
  • First Baptist Church, 1333 N. Third St.–Trunk-or-Treat, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, 701 S. Pioneer Drive–Family Fall Festival, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. If you would like to volunteer to work a booth,
    contact Tammy at children@pioneerdrive.org or call the Church Office at 325-692-6776.


New Beginnings-Big Country will hosts its annual fundraising luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 6 in Hunter Welcome Center at Abilene Christian University.
Various levels of sponsorship are available.
“Hear how God is transforming lives,” Missy Denard, executive director, said in the NB-BC newsletter. “We will have personal testimonies of how God has released women from the bondage of drugs, alcohol, and abusive situations.”
For more information or to volunteer to help, call Becky Nail at 325-668-0026 or email her at beckynail@aol.com