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Local congregations to ‘Celebrate Christmas’ with second annual on air broadcast

Last year’s Christmas Eve broadcast with County FM radio will be reprised for 2021.

Last year, County FM partnered with Bloomfield United Church and 17 other local congregations to broadcast a Christmas Eve program. With churches at limited capacity and without the usual singing and pageantry, none were able to offer a traditional in-person Christmas Eve experience. ‘Celebrate Christmas’ was a way to bring the magic of the Christmas story into the lives and living rooms of County residents, no matter where they were.

This year, listeners will enjoy four additional entries. Celebrate Christmas this year answers the question: What do the faithful do when there’s “no room at the inn”?

“Many churches now have some kind of online worship option, whether it’s a livestream on Facebook or YouTube or Zoom,” said organizer Rev. Cathy Duggan of Bloomfield United Church. “But like many parts of rural Ontario, internet in the County isn’t always great. And all churches have at least a few folks in their congregations who just don’t use the internet— period.”

Duggan approached 99.3 County FM, the community radio station in Prince Edward County, and proposed a program of Christmas scripture readings and carols to be broadcast on the radio on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Station General Manager Craig Mills, and Production Manager Pat Larkin were eager to help.

With the venue problem solved, other ministries quickly jumped on board.

As pandemic concerns are still very much an issue for the community, Celebrate Christmas invites everybody to enjoy the magic of Christmas, even when congregating is not an option.

Archdeacon Charles Morris of St. Mary Magdalene Anglican church and Chair of the Prince Edward Ministerial Association co-manages the project with Rev. Duggan and also acts as recording engineer for most of the musical pieces. Pat Larkin then pulls all of the elements together to produce a Christmas Eve show.

“Rev. Duggan’s idea was to create a non-denominational and inclusive event,” said Mills. “We embraced the project as a chance to help the community heal and celebrate without anybody feeling like they missed Christmas. It is a privilege for 99.3 County FM to take this on, and it’s on track to become our newest holiday tradition.”

The program airs on 99.3 FM also streams online across Canada and around the globe at www.993CountyFM.ca.

Twenty County congregations, schools, and missions will participate in Celebrate Christmas this year, offering scripture, carols, and extending Christmas greetings on behalf of their congregations. “Coming together in the spirit of community is a small Christmas miracle in itself,” says Duggan.

Celebrate Christmas airs exclusively on 99.3 County FM on Friday, Dec. 24 at 8 pm and will repeat on Saturday, Dec. 25 at noon. The complete programme will be posted at CountyFM’s website closer to the event.

2021 Participating Congregations

Anglican
St. Mary Magdalene, Picton
St. Philip’s, Milford
St Andrew’s, Wellington

United
Consecon  United
Cressy/Glenora
Picton
Friendship, Demorestville
Bloomfield
South Bay, Milford
Wellington

Roman Catholic
St. Gregory the Great, Picton

Additional participants:
Bethany Christian Reformed, Bloomfield
Emmanuel Baptist, Bloomfield
Gilead Fellowship, Picton
New Life Women’s Home, Plainfield
Picton Free Methodist
Picton Salvation Army
Sonrise Christian Academy
St. Gregory Catholic School
Wesley Acres Camp, Bloomfield

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