SHINE THE LIGHT: Dieners prepare for distribution of red-ruffed candles.  BONNIE SMITH | SUBMITTED FILE PHOTO
SHINE THE LIGHT: Dieners prepare for distribution of red-ruffed candles.

Archived Story

Grace Lutheran celebrates Christmas with Lovefeast

Published 11:37pm Friday, December 13, 2013

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church will have its annual Christmas Lovefeast Sunday at 3 p.m.
A lovefeast is a Moravian tradition the church adopted five years ago.
The feast would be a time of worship and reflection and include plenty of familiar Christmas hymns.
“There’s a lot of singing. We also serve a special Moravian coffee and buns during our service,” said Agnes Beacham, a member of Grace Lutheran.
During the lovefeast, dieners (which is German for “servant”) serve lightly sweetened buns and coffee.
Fragrant beeswax candles, trimmed with a red ruff that symbolizes Christ’s blood, are distributed and lit during the church service.
As the service ends, everyone is invited to raise the candles as a symbol of sharing the “Light of the World,” Jesus Christ.
“I believe it’s a very old custom but it’s new to us,” Beacham said.
The Moravian Church has a close association with the Lutheran Church through Count Nicholas Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf, a Lutheran bishop who in 1722 provided refuge to the Moravians as they were fleeing religious persecution in their homeland of Moravia.
Today, the Moravian Church is often associated with the restored Moravian village of Old Salem, in Winston-Salem.
Grace Lutheran’s choir director moved here from Winston-Salem and was actively involved in a Moravian church. She introduced the Lovefeast to her new congregation.
“It’s a lovely service,” Beacham said. “It’s a way of getting together with the community and trying something different.”
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 1776 North Market Street in Washington. For more information, call 975-1988.

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