On Sunday, December 19 at 10:30 a.m., a service titled “Lessons and Carols for Christmastide” will be conducted. The public is invited to join the congregation for a traditional English service of readings and carols, led by the various choirs of Old Dutch, including choral and handbell choirs. This beckons a more contemporary tone of service, styled just after World War II at Kings College in Cambridge, at Oxford. The all-music ceremony promises to stir the sensibilities of one and all in attendance.
In 1949, another tradition was created: the outdoor reenactment of the Christmas story. In the churchyard at the corner of Wall and Main Streets, a stable is constructed and live animals are brought in. Anyone, child or adult, from the community is invited to participate with parishioners by coming to the Church and getting dressed up as one of his or her favorite characters from the Nativity Story. This Living Nativity will be presented for the 61st year running on Monday and Tuesday, December 20 and 21. As the story is narrated, the colorful pageant takes place three times each evening: at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m.
Participants can bring their own costumes, but the church has a collection of appropriate garb, including new angel costumes designed by a church member. Candy canes, cookies and hot cocoa are provided for all, making it easier to brave the cold weather!
And on Friday, December 24, a Christmas Eve candlelight service will be performed at 8 p.m., surrounded by a brass choir, carols and handbells, as well as the Old Dutch Choir. The prelude begins at 7:30 p.m.
A historic treasure in the middle of town, the Church strives to honor important, memorable events that have taken place here in the past – from the Wiltwyck Village of Peter Stuyvesant through burnings by Native Americans and the British forces and ensuing reconstructions through various visitations by significant governors and presidents – and its members incorporate their spiritual mission with the church’s historical significance. The Old Dutch Church is located at 272 Wall Street. For further information call (845) 338-6759 or visit www.olddutchchurch.org.