First Estate

News and Trends From Brooklyn’s Houses of Worship

By Francesca Norsen Tate

Christmas Celebrations

Grace Church’s annual service of Lessons & Carols is a beloved tradition featuring the Parish Choir. This year’s Lessons & Carols is at 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 18.

Featured anthems and a cappella motets include “The Dream Isaiah Saw,” by Glenn L. Rudolph, the John Jacob Niles spiritual, “I Wonder As I Wander,” and Norwegian composer Egil Hovland’s motet “The Glory of the Father.” A festive reception follows the liturgy at Grace Church, 254 Hicks St., Brooklyn Heights.

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St Stephen’s Lutheran Church (2806 Newkirk Ave) hosts a Community Carol Sing, on Saturday December 17, at 4 p.m. Director Nick Martellacci will accompany on organ and piano as participants sing beloved sacred and secular holiday music. A free will offering will be accepted.

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St. Ann’s Church invites all to a Community Carol Sing on Wednesday, December 21, 1:10 pm. Organist Gregory Eaton will accompany the carolers. A holiday reception will follow. The church is at the corner of Montague and Clinton Streets in Brooklyn Heights. For information, call 718-875-6960 or

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The kids will be the stars at Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Sunday School Nativity Play on December 18. The Sunday School Play takes place in conjunction with Zion’s Weinachtsferien, a Christmas party of the various mission and service societies at the church.

Zion Church’s Christmas Eve Candlelight Service is at 6:30 p.m. on December 24. A consolidated German-English Festival Holy Communion begins at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.

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The children at St. Charles Borromeo Church Roman Catholic Church will get to present their Christmas Pageant twice. They will offer their story of the Nativity on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18, during the 10:30 a.m. Mass and again on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m., as part of the Children’s Mass.

Other Christmas liturgies offered will be Mass at Midnight, with an 11:30 p.m. Christmas Eve concert beforehand; Christmas Day Masses at 9 and 10:30 a.m. There will be no 7 p.m. Mass on Sunday, Dec. 25.

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Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge hosts several Christmastide celebrations, starting with the Children’s Christmas Pageant: Sunday, December 18 at 10:30 a.m. The Christmas Eve Candlelight Service begins at 11 p.m. on Dec. 24. The church also celebrates Christmas Morning in Bethlehem, on Sunday, Dec. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Bethlehem Lutheran Church is at Fourth and Ovington avenues.

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The Church of Gethsemane, an intentional congregation of those who are formerly incarcerated and their families, hosts its Candlelight Service of Scripture and carols on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. Light refreshments follow the service. Gethsemane extends a special welcome to visitors, including families with young children. The church is at 8th Avenue near 11th St. in Park Slope.

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Past Heights Rabbi Becomes President of Reform Judaism Organization

Rabbi Richard Jacobs, a past beloved spiritual leader of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, will be installed as president of the Union for Reform Judaism during the organization’s biennial conference this week in Washington Dc. President Obama was expected, as of press time, to give the keynote address.

A delegation from the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, including Rabbis Serge Lippe and Molly Kane, Executive Director Randi Jaffe, and BHS members, will be present to celebrate.

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Social Justice Projects

The Brooklyn Oratory at St. Boniface Church is collecting gifts for the H.O.P.E. Christmas Dinner which will take place at St. Monica Hall of St. Augustine’s Parish, Sterling Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn on December 18. The “Wish List” consists of paper towels, metro and phone cards, gloves, hats, mittens, toothpaste, brushes, laundry soaps, had soaps, toilet paper, colognes, and perfumes. Donors are asked not to wrap the gifts.

The Oratory is also participating in the Annual New York Cares Coat Drive. Donors wishing more information on either of these projects may contact the Oratory at 718-875-6960 or

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Filed under Brooklyn Heights, Religion

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