Briefs: Blue Christmas, Israel Tour, Congo Baptism

‘Blue Christmas’ – From Solemn Remembrance to Hope

MIDDLEVILLE, MI (December 29, 2011) – Morning Star Church, a new Evangelical Covenant Church congregation, conducted a Blue Christmas Service of Remembrance and Hope shortly before Christmas.

The church held the service because the congregation wanted to minister to people for whom Christmas can be a difficult time. “Christmas can be hard for those who have had a death in the family, a loss or broken relationship, or because of painful memories of Christmases past,” explains Pastor David Korsen.

“We moved the mood from solemn to hopeful over the course of the service by choosing music, lighting, and scriptures that give full expression to both sorrow and the longing for hope,” says Korsen. “Christmas is for everyone, especially those who are in deep darkness, for on them the light has shined, too!”

Each person who attended the service received information about grief support ministries offered by Morning Star.

Pilgrim Pines Sponsoring Israel Trip in March

SWANZEY, NH (December 29, 2011) – Pilgrim Pines Conference Center is sponsoring a trip to Israel March 6 to March 15.

Dave Cairns, executive director, and Johnny Agurkis, pastor of Congregational Covenant Church in North Easton, Massachusetts, will lead the trip.

“Pilgrim Pines has been a place of spiritual growth for over 50 years,” Cairns says. “I’m excited that we are able to provide this opportunity to now visit the actual locations our speakers and pastors have taught about.”

The trip will include visits to Jerusalem, the Old City walls, Mount Moriah, the Kidron Valley, the Valley of Gehenna, the Mount of Olives, the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, and the Garden of Gethsemane.

Click here for more information.

Nearly 170 Baptized During Congo ‘Big Sunday’ Celebration

BOKONZO, DR CONGO (December 29, 2011) – Pastors baptized 168 new believers as part of this year’s “Big Sunday” weekend gathering, which is observed near the end of each year.

Candidates for baptism paraded from the church about 1.3 miles down a dusty road to the stream. Following the baptism, the new believers and others who attended returned to the church where 1,069 people were served communion, says Pete Ekstrand, Evangelical Covenant Church missionary to Congo.

The baptism was held on a Saturday. The worship service on Sunday was attended by 6,000 people.

Click here to read more about the service and see videos of the event.

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