Christmas Presence — A New Interfaith Event for the Community

November 19, 2009 at 11:44 pm 2 comments

For Immediate Release:

“Christmas Presence” – a new interfaith event for the community

A natural shelter in the fields outside Bethlehem. Starlight glowing overhead.  Shepherds and wise men.  These elements of the traditional Christmas story took on new meaning for international speaker, Chet Manchester, when he visited Israel several years ago.  He captured hours of video footage in Bethlehem and in the green hills of Galilee, where Jesus grew up.  Now, he and New York-based singer Julia Wade are bringing the Christmas story to life for interfaith audiences across the country through an inspirational talk and concert called “Christmas Presence” to be given in Darien’s newly completed Library on Thursday, December 3, at 7:30 pm.  Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Darien, the event combines music, scenes from Israel, and spiritual insights as it retraces Jesus’ life and light from past to present.

Chet Manchester

Manchester speaks internationally as a Christian Science lecturer and has just returned from speaking engagements in Indonesia and The Philippines – where, he says, people start celebrating Christmas very early.  “There were Christmas trees, stars, little manger scenes throughout The Philippines in mid-November.  The story of Jesus’ birth is so universal.  Yet, it’s about more than the birth of a Jewish babe two thousand years ago.  It’s about the dawning of a spiritual light that is here to bring inspiration, joy, and healing to us individually and collectively.  This is what ‘Christmas Presence’ celebrates.”

Audiences will recognize some of the songs recording artist Julia Wade will be performing, like “Joy to the World,” in which she brings fresh arrangements to familiar classics.  They’ll also discover new songs, drawn from her album, “Story for the Ages,” released by Watchfire Music (  And they’ll enjoy hearing a poem set to music entitled “Christmas Morn,” by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science a century ago.  Wade has served as soloist for The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston for the last five years where her singing reaches local and international audiences via church services and live webcasts.

The program title, “Christmas Presence” is a word play that Manchester and Wade say most people can relate to.  “It’s so easy to get caught up in the mad rush to the malls – the hunt for Christmas presents – while our hearts yearn for something more.  It’s the presence of Christ that is the real gift of Christmas – “God with us.”  This is what Christ Jesus’ life illustrated for the world and what we want to share with people through our program.”  Manchester spends much of his time speaking to youth audiences and is quick to add, “Families and young people are especially welcome!”

“Christmas Presence” is being performed in Darien, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Boston during December – and will be available as a web event just before Christmas.  To watch a short preview of the program and learn more about event details, visit  Admission to the Darien event is free.


Entry filed under: Inspiration, Inspirational Music, Inspirational Poetry, Inspiratus, Inspiring Sites, Performance, Spiritual Thinkers. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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