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Spiritual notes

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 335 Locust St., Johnstown, will hold a “A Celtic Advent Quiet Day” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

A Quiet Day is a period of respite from time is set aside to be quiet, spend time with God and refresh your spirit for the days ahead. Quiet Days frequently are held during Advent and Lent. Though the structure of the event remains the same from year to year, the theme differs for each event. The theme of this year’s Advent Quiet Day is “A Celtic Advent.” The event consists of alternating periods of meditation and quiet time followed by final prayers and a vegetarian lunch. During quiet times, participants can engage in relaxing activities, read books available in the Parish Hall or find a quiet spot in the church to read and/or meditate.

The event begins in the Lady Chapel. Participants are asked not to talk until after final prayers.

The first act of Handel’s Messiah will be performed at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Altoona Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 778 Brush Mountain Road, Hollidaysburg.

Chorus members are from all across the Stake and have been practicing for several months. The public is invited to attend this oratorio based on the birth and life of Christ.

The Sacred Music Library, located in the First Presbyterian Church, Hollidaysburg, has Christmas music available. The library will be open from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The library will then be closed for winter break beginning Dec. 9 and will reopen Feb. 3. If music is needed during the winter, call 614-4191 and leave a message.

Champion Life Center will host an Altoona Christmas Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

Several vendors will be on hand for holiday shoppers. Food and drinks will also be available for purchase. Admission is free, and door prizes will be given away every hour.

The Altoona Aglow Lighthouse annual Christmas party will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Gourmet Buffet, 520 Plank Road, Altoona. There will be no cookie exchange this year as desserts are available at the restaurant.

Those attending are asked to bring a $5 gift to exchange, labeled male, female or either. There will also be a silent auction for a gift basket. The party will include games, music and prayer.

The Cathedral Charasmatic Prayer Group will meet for a Festival of Praise at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona. Speakers will be Bob and Marci Sutton. All are invited.

– The children and youth departments of the Juniata United Methodist Church, 808 N. Fourth St., Altoona, will present the annual Christmas program at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. For more information, contact the Juniata United Methodist Church office at 942-6065 or visit juniataumc.net.

“The Promised One,” a Christmas production featuring the adult choir, drama, teen ensemble, instrumentals, kids choir and more, will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Puzzletown Road Bible Church, 316 Puzzletown Road, Duncansville. For more information, call 8696-9686.

Christmas goodies will be served following the Saturday night production. The event is free.

– A Classical Christmas program performed by Marian Grassmyer of Homewood, with a singalong segment of audience favorites, will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 in the Bice Memorial Chapel at Homewood at Martinsburg.

Lutheran Communion will be held at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Bice Memorial Chapel at Homewood at Martinsburg. The public is invited to attend.

– The choir at Juniata United Methodist Church, 808 N. Fourth St., Altoona, will present the annual Christmas Cantata, “Bethlehem’s Child,” at 10:45 a.m. Dec. 22. All are welcome. For more information, contact the Juniata United Methodist Church office at 942-6065 or visit juniataumc.net.

– Christmas cantata “Waiting for Christmas” will be performed by the Bedford United Church of Christ at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Bice Memorial Chapel at Homewood at Martinsburg.

A “Blue Christmas Service” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 335 Locust St., Johnstown.

This liturgy is a quiet meditative service especially for those for whom the Christmas season is a profoundly sad and lonely time, a reminder of loss and brokenness. The death or impending death of a loved one, loss of health or employment, family crises, separation or divorce, and depression are some of the many reasons that Christmas can be painful and isolating.

The lighting of candles during the service offers an opportunity for remembrance, reflection, prayer and spiritual healing. One can grieve knowing they are not alone and be comforted and strengthened by the love of Christ and those present.

All are invited to attend the service for yourself, for someone you love or for those who suffer around the world. Free refreshments and conversation will be available after the service.

Catholic Mass will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, in the Bice Memorial Chapel at Homewood at Martinsburg. The public is invited to attend.

– The Bellwood Adult Community Choir will be present a Christmas concert at the Tyrone Church of the Good Shepherd, 1650 Clay Ave., Tyrone, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. The choir of 50 adults will be presenting both sacred and popular Christmas music under the direction of Richard Bower. The concert is open to the public with free parking and admission. The facility is handicap accessible. An offering will be taken for purchase of new music and for a music scholarship at Bellwood-Antis High School.

– The Bellwood Adult Community Choir and Children’s Choir will present a Christmas concert at the Tipton Baptist Church, 708 Deborah St., Tipton, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. The choirs will present both sacred and popular Christmas songs under the direction of Richard Bower and Jennifer Wright. The concert is open to the public with free parking and admission. The facility is handicap accessible. An offering will be accepted for purchase of new music and for a music scholarship at Bellwood-Antis High School.

– Second Avenue United Methodist Church, 130 Second Ave., Altoona, will host the Altoona Brass Collective for a holiday concert at

2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. An offering will be accepted with all funds going to help families in the community this Christmastime.

For more information, call 943-2072.

A Holiday Food Sale will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1433 13th Ave., Altoona, from noon to 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 22 in the church hall. The sale offers Greek food and pastries to serve at home.

While supply lasts, packs of souvlakia (10 marinated chicken skewers, uncooked, frozen), ready to thaw and easily cooked, are available for $30 each pack. Feta cheese and Kalamata olives are also available at $4 a pound; 2 pound jars of grape leaves are $4 each jar. Greek pastries will also be sold, including $10 Baklava plates. Special orders of Greek pastries (baklava, kourabiedes, galactoboureko, diples, Metaxa balls) possibly may be accommodated by calling the church at 943-0091. Please include your name, contact information, inquiry or pastry request with quantity in your voicemail message.

The deadline to submit Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services is 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9. Items can be emailed to religion@altoonamirror.com or call Holly at 946-7451. Items may also be submitted online through the Mirror’s virtual newsroom at vnr.altoonamirror.com.

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