Welcome to St Peter’s Episcopal Church on this Christmas Eve. Tonight we will celebrate the birth of Jesus with a love feast.
Early Christians met and broke bread together in order to show their union and equality. These meals were known as agape meals, from the Greek word for selfless, serving love.
The Moravian Church, the oldest Protestant denomination, dates back to 1457, to a group of Christians in Bohemia. Moravians resurrected the custom of agape meals in 1727, when after a communion service the Christians found themselves reluctant to separate and to return to their homes for the noonday meal, and so food was brought in and everyone ate together, continuing in prayer, conversation and the singing of hymns. The love feast became a custom in Moravian life. Love feasts were introduced wherever the Moravians settled and were brought to America in the 1700’s.
The Episcopal Church and the Moravian Church are in full communion, and this communion allows us to share one another’s worship traditions. I hope that this love feast that we share tonight will bring a special richness to your Christmas celebration this year, and will continue to bless you in the year ahead.
Everything you need for tonight’s worship service is in your bulletin.
Our love feast buns are a yeast bread flavored with orange, lemon and mace. If you need gluten free food, please let your server know. The drink we will share is a blend of decaffeinated coffee, sugar, milk, and half and half.
And please feel free to take your beeswax candles home at the end of the service and enjoy their wonderful scent through the rest of this Christmas season.
So now let us enter into this time together as we stand for our opening hymn, O come all ye faithful.