No matter where your family celebrates the holidays, you will be able to enjoy an ecumenical musical spectacular. National Council of Churches produced television specials are airing on all three major networks—CBS, ABC and NBC.
A Christmas for Everybody (CBS) is a special Christmas Eve broadcast from the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (SPSA), located on the Upper West Side of New York. SPSA is famous for its long commitment to interfaith understanding, to embracing diversity, and to providing vital social programs for the city’s hungry and poor.
Rev. K Karpen, pastor of SPSA describes how the church aims to welcome anyone, reaching out to the homeless, the poor, the marginalized and to Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers. Together with Rabbi Rolando Matalon of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun and Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood, Rev. Karpen speaks about the wonderful opportunity people of different faiths have to come together in peace and love at this season of the year.
The heart of the program will be filled with seasonal scripture readings and Christmas carols. The readers will include the many diverse members of this unique congregation. Carols will be sung joyfully by both the congregation and by St. Paul and St. Andrew’s wonderful choir, accompanied by harp and strings. The Tony award winner Victoria Clark, an active member of the church, will offer a solo version of “O Holy Night.”
Lessons and Carols (ABC) will be produced at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. Listen as the music of Trinity Wall Street and its renowned Trinity Choir, Family Choir, and Youth Chorus fill the historic sanctuary with the joyful noise of hymns and carols in celebration of the birth of Christ.
Lessons & Carols is a beloved Anglican liturgy that traces the birth of the Messiah from prophecy to fulfillment in scripture and song. The tradition is based on an inspiring Christmas Eve service that began in England in the 1880s.
As your family gathers on Christmas Day, tune into NBC, where Christmas Angels awaits. The musical special celebrates Christmas through the music and memories of youth from different Christian denominations across the United States.
Also on the show will be bell ringers from St. Paul United Church of Christ in Columbia, Illinois, and Trinity United Church of Christ in Canton, Ohio. Other performers include a young organist, a teenage soloist, a liturgical dancer and young hula dancers.
The show also features scenes from a beautiful Swedish candlelight “Santa Lucia” ceremony at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago. Along with the inspirational music, young people share their poems and fondest memories of this holy season.
There is nothing like rediscovering the magic and wonder of the Christmas season through children and young adults.” says Jean Robinson, the producer of Christmas Angels. “Their innocence and charm really puts you in the holiday spirit.”
All three holiday specials are produced through the NCC’s partnership with Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC), through which America’s faith community provides television programming to the affiliates of the three major broadcast TV networks each year. You can find out more about the programs and check local listing at http://www.interfaithbroadcasting.com/liturgical.aspx