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Advent Worship Service helps women prep for Christmas
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Forsyth County News

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you may think it’s too early to talk about Christmas.

Well, I just had to share news of an upcoming event that is sure to get you geared up for Christmas, my favorite holiday.

Deer Creek Shores Presbyterian Church is holding its third annual Interdenominational Women’s Advent Worship Service at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4.

The event will feature a traditional worship service, including communion, with a reception to follow at the church, 7620 Lanier Drive.

I was curious to hear how this whole service came about, so I recently spoke with Loretta Marks, a church member who is heading up the service for the third year.

Loretta explained to me how she had attended a similar service four years ago at Roswell Presbyterian’s Church.

Loretta, herself an accomplished harpist, had a friend who was playing the harp at the service, so she went to show her support.

“It was the most beautiful service and I just felt God put it on my heart to bring a similar service to our church,” she said.

The service was led by women — and for women. Because there were no female pastors on staff at her home church, Loretta came up with the idea of making the service an interdenominational one and inviting female ministers from neighboring churches to help.

She presented her proposal to the women’s board at her church and was delighted with the positive reception.

“There are so many multi-talented women on the board,” she said. “They all just embraced the idea and began forming committees right away.”

That first year, 100 women from different denominations attended. Last year, the number of attendees grew to 125 women from 10 churches. They hope to top that attendance this year.

“It is such a beautiful service,” she said. “There is a lot of music, hymns, and a wonderful message specifically for women.”

Loretta said the purpose for the service is three-fold.

“We want to build an inclusive, caring community of women, to support the mission of the church by providing an opportunity for women to come together to nurture our faith, and then emphasize the significance of this holy season,” she explained.

This year’s message will be “Mary’s Joy,” as delivered by the Rev. Maryellen Hittel, pastor at Rockmart Presbyterian.

Hittel will be assisted by the Rev. Cathy Zappa from the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Cumming.

The music will be led by Jeanne Luke from Dawsonville’s Grace Presbyterian, with women from its choir singing.

Loretta, who learned the harp in her late 50s, will play during the service. (I have heard her play and she is wonderful!)

After the hour-long service, which includes communion, there is a reception featuring hors d’ oeuvres and plenty of delicious home-baked goods. Loretta said it is the perfect opportunity for women to mingle and get to know each other.

She stressed that it’s usually women who are responsible for getting the home in order at this busy time of year. They prepare most of the food and ensure the entire family experiences the joy of the Christmas season.

“It is only fitting that we come together, pause, take a deep breath and reflect on the season of what this tiny baby’s birth means to us personally before the rush of the season begins,” she said.

Loretta said she hopes this night will be “a girl’s night like no other.”

There is no charge to attend, but a love offering will be collected for local missions.

What a special and enjoyable way to begin the season of Advent leading up to Christmas Day.


Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at