Siloam Springs, Ark. (November 30, 2006) - Imagine. Hundreds of voices raised together in quiet worship as candles flicker on a cold, December night. Small children in white robes with big red bows hide their giggles as they light candles at the end of each pew.
There are no large Christmas trees or elaborate Christmas decorations, just a group of John Brown University students, staff and faculty ushering in the Christmas season through song and worship in the old chapel building.
When the service is over, imagine stepping outside of the old chapel and seeing snowflakes fall gently from the sky-a perfect way to begin the Christmas holidays.
This is how Margaret Siemens Weathers remembers her first Candlelight services at JBU. Weathers, a 1947 JBU graduate, first sang in the Candlelight service in 1946. Since then, she sang in each Candlelight until her first husband, Walt Siemens, graduated in 1949, and has been regularly attending Candlelight since she returned to Siloam Springs 36 years ago.
“Candlelight is very festive and really puts you in the Christmas spirit and mood,” Weathers said.
Since 1946, the annual Candlelight Service has ushered in the Christmas season for countless JBU students, faculty and staff, as well as for alumni and the community of Siloam Springs. It is a beloved tradition that attracts visitors from all over Northwest Arkansas each year.
The 64th Annual Candlelight Service will take place this year on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 and 9 in the Cathedral of the Ozarks. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the service will begin promptly at 7 p.m. with an instrumental prelude.
The Cathedral Choir, under the instruction of Paul Smith, professor of music, will perform John Rutter’s “Gloria,” a three movement work that is one of the most beloved choral pieces of the last 20 years. A full brass, percussion and organ will accompany “Gloria” section of the performance.
The University Women’s Chorus under the direction of Kate Dewey will perform “In the Bleak Midwinter,” “Go Where I Send Thee!” and John Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”
The service is free and open to the public. Seating is on first come, first served basis, and early arrival is encouraged. In order to preserve the worshipful atmosphere of the Candlelight Services, guests are respectfully requested to consider not bringing young children to the service. We also ask that guests refrain from flash photography.
For more information on Candlelight, call the JBU music office at (479) 524-7154.
John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 2,000 students from 40 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.