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John's UCC planning Christmas events
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MONROE - A Christmas cantata, a special "Service of the Longest Night," a live nativity and four Christmas Eve services are planned at St. John's United Church of Christ, 1724 14th St., Monroe, during the Christmas advent season.

All events are open to the public.

The events begin with the 10th annual St. John's cookie and candy sale from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday in the church Fellowship Hall. Cookies, homemade candy, fudge, braetzelis and lefse, along with other food items, will be available for purchase. All items will be $8 per pound.

The church's Sanctuary Choir will present a Christmas cantata, "What Child Is This?," during the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services on Sunday. The Christmas musical is a 2015 publication composed by Joel Rancy, with each selection within the work answering the question asked by the title. The cantata is being directed by Robert Haigler, director of music at the church.

This time of year can be particularly difficult for those who may be grieving a loss, living alone or who have painful associations with this time of year. "The Service of the Longest Night," held on or near the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at the St. Clare Friedensheim chapel. The service is designed to offer comfort, consolation and hope.

A live nativity will be held at the church on Dec. 20. Several scenes from the Christmas story will be featured in tableaux form in the parking lot and circle drive of the church. Cars may drive through the scenes from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and walk through the area from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Christmas caroling will follow at 6:30 p.m.

Four Christmas Eve services are planned. A 4 p.m. service is planned at St. Clare Friedensheim Chapel. A 5 p.m. family service is planned at the church and will feature a play, "The Christmas Story as Told by the Animals." The 7 p.m. service at the church will be a communion and candlelight service with music by Circle of Friends. The 9 p.m. service will be a candlelight service with music by the Sanctuary Choir.

For more information on any of the events, call the church office at 608-325-2165.