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Casual service designed for holiday

In the corner of the back garage of the Harvest for the Hungry food pantry, stood a green and gold Christmas tree. Nearby was a pedestal with bread and a chalice.

Normally used for storage, the room was transformed on Thursday into a makeshift chapel for an inaugural noontime Christmas Eve service by First United Methodist Church of Ironton.

“This is the first and hopefully of many services here and in the community,” Caleb LaFond, pastor, told the group of about 20. “We want to offer something through this service for those who use the (pantry) services here. This is another option of our ministry.”

LaFond dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt wanted to provide a casual, contemporary service those who are not regular churchgoers.

“I am excited as we come to celebrate the birth of the Son Jesus,” he prayed. “May your presence descend upon us.”

Then members of the clerical staff presented a musical program including “Joyful, We Adore Thee,” “Angels, We Have Heard on High,” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

After the music LaFond began his sermon that talked about the love God has for his creation.

“We are in awe trying to figure things out,” he said. “As a child I never understood the magnitude of this Christmas thing. When I think about Jesus coming down from his throne in heaven, I am in awe. It is impossible to grasp the love God has for us.”