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Cantata attendees told to connect to God during tragic times

December 17, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Terra Deatrich and Deron Crawford play Mary and Joseph in a live nativity scene during a Christmas Cantata at Washington Square United Methodist Church.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Pastor Jerry Lowans looked up at a cross inside Washington Square United Methodist Church Sunday night during a Christmas cantata and referred to the tragic shooting Friday of 26 people inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Lowans talked about how the incident created a troubling weekend, but he said after the service that people must remember that they still can connect with God after such upsetting events.

“We need to learn to look through the situation,” Lowans told about 90 people gathered for the service.

Lowans, who also preaches at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, said a lot of people have been talking about the Connecticut shooting and he predicted that more people might attend the Blue Christmas event being planned at the church in an attempt to come to grips with the incident.

The Blue Christmas service will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the church at 538 Washington Ave.

The Christmas cantata is a long-standing program at the church and includes a living nativity that helps bring the story of Jesus Christ’s birth to life.

In addition to the cantata that featured singers from Washington Square, St. Matthew’s and Grace United Methodist churches, the service included people portraying Mary and Joseph, shepherds, the wise men and angels.

Live animals in the nativity included a donkey, which was provided by Down on the Farm Petting Zoo in Fairplay and two baby goats, which were provided by Deb and Charles Manahan of Clear Spring.

Among the people attending the service was W. Carl Zinn, a former pastor who is now a regular member at Washington Square United Methodist Church.

Zinn acknowledged that the Connecticut shooting was on the minds of people at the service and it was a time for healing.

“Anytime you turn to God after a situation like that, you’re  going to do good. We have to look up to be healed,” Zinn said after the cantata.

The cantata also was a time to celebrate the glory of the holiday season.

The story of the birth of Jesus Christ was intermingled with selections from the singers. The donkey was walked to the front of the church for the service for the nativity and the two baby goats were brought forward a short time later.

“All this for a child, but oh what a child he was,” said narrator Kevin Crawford.

In the living nativity, Mary was portrayed by Terra Deatrich and Joseph was played by Deron Crawford.

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