Advent 2016

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See ways to look, listen, read and gather around #goodnessandlight this Advent 2016

Children's Advent devotional booklets available:  download in color

Saturday, Dec. 10
9 am–2 pm. 
St. Paul’s Choir Gingerbread House and Bake SaleJones Building, Foyer

Sunday, Dec. 11
4–6 pm. 
Sights, Sounds and Smells of ChristmasJones Building, Fondren Hall

Friday, Dec. 16–Friday, Dec. 23
5-7 pm. Las Posadas | Abraham Station

Saturday, Dec. 17
9:30 am-noon (come-and-go). Journey to Bethlehem Labyrinth Walk
Begin in Jones Building Foyer and follow the signs "to Bethlehem"

Sunday, Dec. 18

Monday, Dec. 19
6:45 pm. Choral Scholars sing prior to Cantare Houston Concert | Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Beck Building Lobby

Wednesday, Dec. 21

Schedule Pictorial Directory Portrait Sessions

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Check your calendar for these dates

  • December 9-13 (Friday-Tuesday). *Pet friendly days December 10 and 12

  • January 19-23 (Thursday-Monday)

Schedule Your Portrait Sessions

  • Monday-Saturday, schedule online

  • Sunday mornings, stop by the Plaza to schedule or for more information

All photography will be in the Activity Center, 2nd floor, Sanctuary Building. Disabled access via Fannin Street Courtyard to elevator. Call 713-705-6542 in advance to ensure entrance.

Participants receive complimentary 8x10 portrait and a free directory.
You also will be given the option of purchasing additional poses and formats.

About Your Portrait Session: Please allow up to one hour for your professional portrait session. Be prepared for your session and show the real you. Lifetouch suggests that you wear solid colors with long sleeves. Consider bringing meaningful items to be included in your portraits. Examples: special keepsakes, sports equipment, musical instruments. See note about pets below.

*Pet-friendly Days. If you want your pet(s) in your family portraits, schedule your session for one of the designated Pet-friendly Days. People without pets also may be photographed on those days but should realize that pets may be present. Please bring your pet(s) on a leash or within a carrier.  Please do not bring pets that do not travel well or do not get along with others.

Questions? email Donna Adair via


Gingerbread Houses

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St. Paul's Choir

Famous Gingerbread House and Bake Sale

December 10 from 9 am to 2 pm

Jones Building Foyer


Watch the decorating any time between 10 am and 2 pm
Friday, December 9, in Fondren Hall


Thank Childcare Workers

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Our many, experienced childcare workers make it possible for St. Paul’s to hold our worship services and many other activities. 

To tell them “thanks for being here,” please place a Christmas Love Offering into one of the green envelopes in the Jones Building Foyer on Sunday mornings or indicate “Childcare Love Offering” on other donation methods. 

For more information, please contact Ellen Edwards via or 713-528-0527.

Christmas Tamales, Cards, Gift Tags

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Order Christmas tamales or purchase Christmas cards and gift tags handmade by members of the Fe y Esperanza congregation on the Plaza this Sunday, December 11. Pick up pre-ordered tamales from the Jones Building second floor kitchen on Sunday, December 18, between 10 am and 1 pm.

Sights, Sounds, & Smells of Christmas

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A beloved event for generations this is a fun-filled evening
of crafts, Santa, snacks, and music for all ages in Fondren Hall. Wesley Singers lead sing-along.


Holiday Book Fair for MacGregor

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All are invited to join with St. Paul’s Moms as they distribute books at MacGregor Elementary, 4801 LaBranch, Thursday, December 15, from 9:30 to 11 am. These will be the books donated at this fall’s Mitzvah Day.

On Wednesday, December 14, St. Paul’s Moms will hold its annual holiday potluck breakfast off site, also from 9:30 to 11 am. All are asked to bring one or more gently used children’s books to be included in the next day’s distribution at MacGregor.

Childcare will be available at the church for both occasions. 

Questions? About Book Fair: email About St. Paul’s Moms: email

Las Posadas

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The Fe y Esperanza congregation will hold the traditional Las Posadas search for a place at the inn starting Friday, December 16, to Friday, December 23, from 5 to 7 pm in Abraham Station.

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Each evening begins with a procession with the Holy Family knocking on doors. They are rejected at the first two. At the third door, they are invited inside where they celebrate with a brief devotional, prayers, and singing plus an “aguinaldo,” or “bonus.”

A similar procession marks the beginning of the 10 pm bi-lingual Spanish/English Christmas Eve service. From the Labyrinth, the Holy Family knocks on two doors, eventually being welcomed through the Main Street entrance into the Sanctuary.

Tacos al pastor (vegetarian and beef) will be served prior to this Christmas Eve service.

All are invited to participate in any part of this tradition, whether or not you speak Spanish.

Journey to Bethlehem

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A come-and-go guided “Journey to Bethlehem” Labyrinth Walk will be provided on Saturday, December 17, from 9:30 to noon. Begin in the Jones Building and follow the signs "to Bethlehem."

The walk is designed primarily for families while siblings rehearse for the evening's Children's Christmas Candlelight Service, but all are welcome to join them.

Youth Strings

The St. Paul's Youth Strings will be in the Jones Building Foyer at 9:30 am Sunday, December 18. The ensemble includes violinists from beginning elementary school children to older middle school students plus one cellist, who is in elementary school.

Come listen to this special St. Paul's ensemble. They will play again at the Children's Christmas Candlelight Service in the sanctuary at 4:30 that afternoon.

St. Paul's Youth Strings in 2014

St. Paul's Youth Strings in 2014

Choral Scholars in Concert

2015-16 Choral Scholars, May 2016

2015-16 Choral Scholars, May 2016

St. Paul's Choral Scholars will sing at these additional times during the Christmas season:



Children's Christmas Candlelight Service

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The Children’s Christmas Candlelight worship service at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church will be at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, December 18, in the Sanctuary.

People of all ages are encouraged to attend this service led by the Children’s Choirs as children read and enact the Christmas story and everyone sings carols and lights individual candles.

“The service is a wonderful opportunity for children to practice being worship leaders,” said Ellen Edwards, Director of Children’s Ministries.

The children serve as ushers, greet worshippers, and distribute bulletins and candles. The young readers make the announcements, pray the offering prayer, and tell the Nativity story. From the altar candles, Acolytes pass the light into the congregation while worshipers sing Silent Night. The St. Paul's Youth Strings will be directed by Antoine Plante.

“Every role is highly valued, and children learn that they have gifts to offer in the worshiping community,” said Edwards. “Because this service is so reverent and beautiful, the congregation always includes many people without children of their own.”

Even the youngest are welcome to the service though childcare also is provided in the Jones Building across the plaza from the Sanctuary.

Service of the Longest Night

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Photograph by Rev. Lisa Beth White. November 2016.

Photograph by Rev. Lisa Beth White. November 2016.

The Service of the Longest Night will be in the Chapel at 6 pm. Wednesday, December 21.

This is a quiet, meditative worship experience that provides space and time to acknowledge the sadness and concern that may be present even in the midst of the  celebration of the season.

This service is held on or near the night of the Winter Solstice because, as the longest night of the year, it has the least daylight and the most darkness.

The Labyrinth on the Bankston Green will be lighted for walking in prayer and meditation before or after the service, weather permitting. The Activity Center Labyrinth also will be available.

Childcare will be available. To ensure the proper number of childcare workers, RSVP to

Holiday Closings

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Church offices will be closed December 23-27 (Friday-Tuesday) and December 30-January 2 (Friday-Monday).

Exception: The Finance Office will be open December 27. To be applied to the 2016 tax year, contributions must be postmarked or received online by December 31, 2016.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Worship

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All services will be in Sanctuary with lighting of individual candles. To watch any of these services live, go to St. Paul's Live.

  • Noon & 8 pm: Holy Communion
  • 4 & 6 pm: Christmas Lessons and Carols
  • 10 pm: Bilingual Spanish/English - Begin with Las Posadas procession on outdoor Labyrinth

To help ensure parking spaces for our many Christmas Eve visitors, to the extent you are able, please park in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, garage across Binz from St. Paul's large lot. Thanks to the MFAH for making this garage available from 10 am to 11 pm for these worship services.

Christmas Day | Sunday, Dec. 25
One Worship Service at 11:05 am
Childcare and children's church provided during this service. No children's or Youth Sunday School. Adult classes meet at their option; check with yours.

New Year's Day | Sunday, Jan. 1
One Worship Service at 11:05 am

Author Zadie Smith

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Brazos Bookstore brings bestselling and multi-award-winning author Zadie Smith to St. Paul's for a reading from her new novel, Swing Time, about friendship, race, music, and global politics.

For tickets, please go to Brazos Bookstore.