The Moravian Christmas Eve Lovefeast from Olivet Moravian Moravian Church

       The early Christians met and broke bread together to signify their union, fellowship and love.  In 1727, the Moravian Church revived this practice, and it has established this custom of celebrating the great church festivals by partaking together of a simple meal known as a "lovefeast".  The first lovefeasts of the Moravian Church in North America were held in Savanah, Georgia, during the years 1735 to 1740.  The first lovefeast in Wachovia was held on the evening of the arrival of the first Moravian colonist in North Carolina, November 17, 1753, at Bethabara.

     The Christmas Eve Lovefeast, with its lighted candles, is one of the most beautiful services of the Moravian Church.  The Custom originated on the European continent at Marienborn in the year 1747, and spread throughout the Moravian world.  The first Christmas Eve lovefeast held at bethabara was in 1753, and at Salem in 1771.  In North Carolina, the candles were used for the first time in the children's lovefeast of Bethabara and Bethania in 1762.  Every person is given a lighted candle to remind him that Christ said, "I am the light of the world", and "You are the light of the World - let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

 

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Olivet Moravian Church opens it's doors as friends family and neighbors gather for a celebration of a traditional Christmas Lovefeast and Candlelight Service

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As the the Santuary fills to capacity, the congregation enjoys a Moravian Brass Band Prelude directed by Robert Conrad

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Preparations are underway elsewhere in the building as the special Moravian Coffee is brewed by George Beroth and David Johnson. Candles stand ready thanks to Gladys Conrad and family.

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The Chancel Choir gathers for their entrance into the Sanctuary.

Female Dieners prepare to serve the Moravian buns to those who have gathered.

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Male Dieners are given the cue to begin filling their coffee cups.

The santuary is filled to capacity and the service is about to begin.

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As Dieners serve the Buns the Coffee is on its way.
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After the Coffee is served and the traditional Moravian Blessing is offered, those gathered enjoy special Music by the Choir - Hand Bell Ringers  and other musicians while partaking of the simple meal.
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Once the Meal is over and the empty cups are collected the Sanctuary lights are dimmed in preparation for the Candle Light Service.

Dieners distribute the  Specially trimmed Bees Wax Candles to everyone.
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When everyone has recieved their unlit candle the service begins as the single flame from the Christ Candle is distributed to each person.

As the number of burning  candles gradually increases  a soft light and  sweet aroma of bees wax fills the sanctuary.
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As the service concludes everyone is invited to raise their candle a a symbol of sharing the Light of the World (Jesus Christ) to all.