A service for the longest night will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21 at the Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, 4600 S. Poplar, and a traditional Christmas Eve service will be held on Christmas Eve at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Longest Night

Held on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, this service of quiet music, including bells and choir, readings from Scripture and poetry, and silent and spoken prayer offers a respite from the Christmas season, which is marked by expressions of joy, excitement, and happiness.  

“The days leading up to Christmas are full of light, sound, and activity,” said the Rev. Lynn Williamson, pastor at Shepherd of the Hills. “However, this time of joy and expectation can often overshadow the pain and hurt many experiences during this season, when the world’s merriment puts their grief and sadness in stark relief.”

Joining in this interfaith and ecumenical service are The Table and the Red Clay Abbey. Around The Table, our community aims to be present as fully as possible, even in seasons like Christmas and New Year that vie for our attention and often leave us distracted and weary. “As a radically inclusive spiritual community, we encourage folks to come as you are with your beliefs, joys, and successes as well as your doubts, fears, and failures,” said the Rev. Libby Tedder Hugus, facilitator of The Table. The winter solstice and longest night of the year are a wonderful day to pay attention to those doubts, fears, failures, and grief we carry as humans. 

The mission of the Red Clay Abbey is to “care for the community by creating opportunities for rest, creativity and intuitive worship.” “A longest night service is right up our alley,” according to ordained Buddhist nun Jessika Waldron, “because it is an opportunity to teach and model pausing to rest in a very busy, very overwhelming world and season.” 

This gathering on the longest night is for those who find themselves sad and lonely during the holiday season of lights and celebrations or for those who long for a quiet time to rest and reflect on the gifts of light and love.

Christmas Eve

The Christmas Eve service begins at 6:30 p.m. with the music of harpist Jane Ann Hamman, organist Dr. Eric Unruh, and the Shepherd of the Hills choir, directed by Lane Cheney. The 30-minute prelude includes alternating selections for choir, harp, and organ. It will begin with familiar Advent pieces and conclude with a festive arrangement of The First Nowell. The harp will be featured throughout the service. 

The traditional candle-lit service includes congregational carols, prayers, readings from Scripture, and a brief sermon by the Rev. Lynn Williamson, pastor. All are welcome to the Communion Table for the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Children of all ages are welcome in the service. We also have a nursery service.

Following the service there will be a time of refreshments and fellowship.

Those who wish can attend either service on Zoom at:


For more information, call the church at 307-235-3536.

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