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TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Thu, Jan. 27

Column: Candlelight service a must see at Christmas in VOC

This undated file photo shows a candlelight service in the Village of Oak Creek. (VOC Church of the Nazarene/Courtesy)

This undated file photo shows a candlelight service in the Village of Oak Creek. (VOC Church of the Nazarene/Courtesy)

Christmas should be a time of joy, laughter, family, friends, kindness, generosity, merriment and expressed love. But for many, it can be a difficult time.

It might be their first year alone after the passing of a spouse or other family member. They may be facing a lost job, housing displacement or other very personal and private crisis. Whatever your circumstances this Christmas season, we all need a chance to regroup, refocus, and experience solace and peace.

By nature, people are contemplative, seeking hope, peace, meaning, and searching for answers. Some of the traditions of Christmas encourage and give opportunity to do just that. The annual VOC Community Christmas Eve Candlelight Service is one of those times. Hosted by the VOC Community Nazarene Church (VocNaz), it’s truly a community event meant for everyone.

With all electric lights off and over 1,500 candles throughout the facility, you really have to be there to fully appreciate the experience. Opening the front door, you step into a different realm. It feels warm, comfortable, inviting, intimate, and sacred. It also feels as if you’re connected to everyone else there in a place that’s much bigger than its physical space. It’s a place of contemplation…inviting prayer, meditation, and introspection.

There is soft music, both recorded and live, readings, scripture, and prayer. At one side of the room pastors Jim and Cindy Cunningham serve communion to any and all who want to participate in the celebration of Jesus. This is a come and go service; you can stay for the full hour or just for a few minutes.

“We are amazed each year at the response from our small community,” Pastor Cindy Cunningham said. “People come intending a brief visit and are so moved they remain the whole hour. They say it’s because of the tranquil space. It invites them to sit back and get a soul rest in the midst of a chaotic Christmas season.”

You are invited to experience the VOC Community Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Thursday, Dec. 24, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at VOC Community Nazarene Church, 55 Rojo Drive.

If you have questions or seek more information you can call 928-284-0015, Pastor Cunningham’s cell is 702-810-4048, or pastorjim@vocnaz.org.

Jim Cunningham Jr. is pastor for the VOC Church of the Nazarene.

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