Which Church for Christmas Eve Church Services?

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Children's Christmas Service

Dec 2008

We're looking for a wonderful Christmas Service for children. Something magical, preferably with a wonderful choir. Any suggestions? Arminda

The Hillside Community Church in El Cerrito will be holding a service on Christmas Eve (5pm) which I think you would enjoy. There will be a short service, music provided by both a pianist and an organist. Following the service we will be performing our traditional Nativity Story play which is ''Play-It-Yourself'' - any child or adult that is attending is welcome to participate in the retelling of the story. We have the costumes and props and the story is narrated while the children (and some adults) act out the parts. It is a wonderful way to get the children involved and to learn the story. There are infinite parts for the children, from angels to shepherds to wise kings. The play is followed by a potluck supper and there is every chance that Santa will join us for supper. If you decide to come and you have little ones with you please let us know names and ages so that we can be sure that Santa knows to bring a stocking with him for your child - it is a busy night for! him and he might need a separate list for this stop!

We'll be carolling around the Christmas tree and fireplace during supper also.

If you need any further information please call Linda at 510-235-3646. The address is 1422 Navellier St., El Cerrito, CA Eileen

We've been too quiet about a great family/children's program at St Paul's Episcopal downtown Oakland across the street from Fairyland. A Christmas Eve serivce for families is scheduled for 5PM including the children's choir or all ages.

Starting this year we have taken a new approach with our families offering a 10AM children/parent program parallel to the regular adult Service. Our opening ritual asks each person 3-60+ to talk about their week and what they are grateful for and not so grateful about followed by a seasonal interactive bible lesson. The children and their parents then join the regular service for Eucharist. The children are very familiar with the adult service and enjoy being included.

Feel free to contact me with questions. This is a diverse group of children and parents. Liz

Christmas service with lots of music for visiting Methodist mother-in-law

Dec 2005

My mother-in-law, a Methodist, will be visiting for Christmas and we'd like to take her to a nice Christmas (or Christmas Eve?) church service with lots of music. As a non-Christian, I'm not sure how this works. Can anyone just walk into any Christmas service? Are they usually on Christmas Eve, or are some on Christmas Day? We need somewhere that's child-tolerant, as we have two little kids. An emphasis on music and festivity rather than on religion would be preferable. Prefer North Berkeley location. Deck the halls

St John's Episcopal Church in Montclair has wonderful music oriented Christmas Eve services, including ''family'' services where there are tons of kids running around. This year there are two family services, on Saturday, (Christmas Eve)- one at 4:30pm with the Cherub (preschool kids) and Youth Choirs and one at 6:30pm with Youth Soloists. I think that there is a pagent at both services, so maybe a little too religious for you though? check out their website - http://www.stjohnsoakland.org/ A very welcoming church community, people of all religions/races/sexual orientations are welcome at all times. - love my christmas music

There's a great United Methodist in North Berkeley ... Epworth United Methodist Church . It is at 1953 Hopkins Street. The music program is wonderful. There's a superb pipe organ, played by Jerry Asheim, a very talented musician. There are Christmas Eve services scheduled at 5 p.m. (for children) and 8 p.m. Anyone can just come and enjoy the music, the candles, and the festivity of the season. Epworth is my church family, and we would be happy to welcome you and your mom. David

All Souls Episcopal Church at 2220 Cedar (just up from Oxford) is very welcoming (any church will welcome you, really) and very kid-friendly -- especially the early Christmas Eve (~ 5), which includes a childrens' pageant, in which all kids are welcome to join. Might be a little ''high church'' for your mom, but it's a very welcoming congregation.

Dear Deck the Halls-- Your mother-in-law will feel quite at home at Epworth United Methodist Church , 1953 Hopkins, Berkeley. You just walk in! No reservation, no membership required. Everyone is welcome! Join us for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There will be lots of music at all of the services. Children are welcome at all the services---there are lots of families with young children. We don't just tolerate them; they are an important part of our community.

There are two services on Christmas Eve:
**5PM for families with young children--the kids get to dress up if they like and become angels, shepherds, or wise people in the re-telling of the ancient story.
**8PM is a more traditional service of ''lessons and carols''; both with candles to take the light out into the darkness. Christmas Day, Sunday (!) the 25th 10AM worship with lots of music, lights and celebration Please email me if you have questions. Sally

I wrote a recommendation for my church in the last newsletter but it's appropriate for your question as well. You would be welcome to come to our Christmas Eve service at Church Without Walls in West Berkeley. We are a small and casual church with lots of kids and we love to sing. We will have appetizers and treats at 3pm and the service will be at 4. We meet at the Finnish Hall at 1819 10th St. www.nowalls.org Merry Christmas! Kim

Christmas Eve services that would appeal to teens

Dec 1999

Any Christmas Eve services in Berkeley that would be appealing to famlies with teens (thoughtful content, music, drama, teen participation)? Marla

Regarding Christmas Eve Church Services in Berkeley, the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley will have two services with music and singing. The Family Service is at 6:00 pm and is a celebration in music for people of all ages. The Candles and Carols Service is at 10:00 pm for adults, teens and college age students, and will celebrate the birth of Jesus with carols, readings and music presented by the Chancel Choir, handbells and instrumentalists, closing with candel lighting and quiet singing of Silent Night -- it is a quiet, peaceful and wonderful ceremony ushering in the spirit of Christmas.

First Pres will also have a Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 19 at 8:00 pm. Mitch Covington is the music director and past performances have been world class. It will be a festive evening of fine choral music by a 90-voice choir, symphonic orchestra and soloists. Free parking and child care are available. If you enjoy wonderful music, don't miss this one, but plan to be there by 7:30 pm to get reasonable seats. The church is the contemporary building located on the southeast corner of Dana and Channing Way.

Another Christmas Eve service: All are very welcome to attend the service at Epworth United Methodist Church at 1953 Hopkins (just above the North Branch of the Berkeley Library). The service is at 7:00PM. It's a family service of lessons and carols, lots of singing, pipe organ, all ages invited. (Epworth is a reconciling congregation, open to all people regardless of gender, race, age, economic background, sexual orientation, etc.) The thing I like about Epworth is that it is not pretentious---it's the Urban Ore of the Berkeley churches. And for some of us, that feels pretty good. As far as teenagers go, my own 16 yr old has distanced himself from church but I think that's because he senses it's somewhere he can safely rebel against me, a PK (preacher's kid.) --Sally

Regarding Christmas Eve Church Services in Berkeley, the First Congregational Church of Berkeley will do three services with superb music, candlelighting and singing. The format is fairly traditional, but the message and spirit are decidedly progressive. The 5:00 family service is for families with young children (and people who like an informal service) and features the family orchestra. The 9:00 service is followed by a cookie-and-coffee reception and caroling, which are followed by the 11:00 service. Both services are well attended by teens and families with older children. The church is located at Dana and Channing Way.

Midnight Mass at Grace Cathedral in SF is pretty impressive if you are looking for an opulent, ritualistic, high church experience. It's not interactive, the carols are played too fast to really allow for singalongs, and you feel very small in that huge church with the big crowd. But it is incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Get there by 11pm if you aren't a member and you want a seat. For carolling and singalongs, I like the Christmas Revels . Not entirely religious, but not completely secular either.

Add to the comment on Grace Cathedral that Lessons and Carols at 5 p.m. is a service that we have enjoyed for years. The service is exactly like the one recorded by King's College, Cambridge, and is an impressive ritual. Donald