Nativity will begin new evening service Sunday
The Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Fayetteville will begin holding an additional afternoon service, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. The parish will continue its present 10 a.m.Sunday Eucharist.
The Rev. Rita Henault, Nativity’s rector, said the new service will be “... casual, relaxed, affirming and participatory,” and will include scripture, prayer and Holy Communion, as well as music in different forms.
To launch the expanded worship experience, the afternoon service on Aug. 3 will be followed about 6:30 p.m. by a special outdoor concert in the parish garden featuring David Ellis and Melissa Callender. The musical duo has performed previously at Nativity and is regularly featured at many different venues throughout the Metro Atlanta area.
Additionally, music during the afternoon worship service will be led by Jorge Darr, a guitarist who moved to Fayette County earlier this year from Boulder, Colo., where for many years he was an active performing church musician while working as a mechanical engineer.
His wife, Jean Riehl, played an important part in arranging the new service format. She is a Delta Airlines manager..
Ellis and Callendar, the two musicians participating in the after-church garden concert, have a variety of performance credits.
Ellis began performing at the age of 14 playing banjo and guitar in a bluegrass band with his parents and a family friend. Since then, he has broadened his repertoire to include bass, mandolin, fiddle and dobro (a special kind of resonator guitar).
He has appeared with many Atlanta-based groups and recently took part in a USO tour in Singapore.
Callender performed in her first musical theater production at the age of four and says she hasn’t stopped singing since. Nowadays, in addition to professional activities, she is a music education major at Clayton State University.
Callender has been named both female vocalist of the year and entertainer of the year by the Georgia Country and Gospel Music Foundation. She was a finalist in the Loretta Lynn National Talent Search, and has been honored by the Georgia Music Hall of Fame as recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Friends of Georgia Music.
In the most recent edition of the parish newsletter, Henault wrote:
“We at Nativity have a warm, supportive open and affirming, delightfully diverse congregation ... and we are prepared to extend holy hospitality to those who are new to faith or refugees from religion; to those who want to bring their questions and doubts to a place where they can talk about them; to those who have been beat up, pushed down or excluded by their former faith communities; to those who are too exhausted to get up on Sunday mornings, or are reluctant to walk in the door of a new church and ‘try it one more time.’”
She added, “On Aug. 3 we’ll try our best to meet some of those needs and provide a safe place for those who want to try a new community worship experience.”
The Episcopal Church of the Nativity is located at 130 Antioch Road, near the intersection with Ga. Hwy. 92, south of downtown Fayetteville.