General News · November 18, 2022

Advent and Christmas at Fifth Avenue

Here is your guide to Advent and Christmas at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. To return to this page throughout the season, simply enter in your browser.


For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.—Isaiah 9:6

Advent and Christmas lead us, step by step, to a humble stable where an infant lies nestled in the straw. This baby, we say, is heaven’s gift. This baby changes everything.

With such big expectations falling on such small shoulders, our faith spends a lot of time suggesting names for the child. The names proposed by our tradition are full of hope and giddy joy. These names also expose people’s deep yearning for a God who will show up and heal the broken places in our lives.

In this season of expectation, join us in worship as we consider one of faith’s most important questions: “What are we going to call this baby?”

The Advent sermon series begins on Sunday, Nov. 27 (“Wonderful Counselor,” Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston preaching). It continues through Christmas Day (“Savior,” Associate Pastor Werner Ramirez preaching). All Sunday services will be available on livestream.

Our worship calendar also includes Blue Christmas, a service of meditation and contemplation, on Wednesday, Dec. 14 (also available on livestream). Our service on Sunday, Dec. 18, will feature the Children’s Christmas Pageant, The Big, Big Story, a telling of Jesus’ birth by a pair of intrepid young journalists.

On Christmas Eve, we will offer a recorded service for families that will be available on demand on our YouTube channel, FAPCinNYC. And there will be two evening services, at 7:30 pm and 11 pm. The earlier service will be available on livestream.

For full details on our Advent and Christmas worship services, visit our worship calendar.

Holiday Events

Family Ministries kicks off our lineup of events with the Advent Festival on Sunday, Nov. 27. Parents and kids are invited for breakfast, crafts and tree-decorating at 9:30 am in the LaDane Williamson Christian Education Center.

The Advent concert, Carols by Candlelight, returns for the 10th year on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 & 3, in Kirkland Chapel. Tickets are on sale now for this popular holiday offering from the Fifth Avenue Chamber Choir. The Friday performance is available on livestream.

Two new holiday events are coming up, starting with Holiday Hymns & Hops on Wednesday, Dec. 7, in Bonnell Hall. Music director Ryan Jackson leads the caroling, and Associate Pastor (and beer aficionado) Werner Ramirez discusses the theology of beer-making (yes, it’s a thing) as you sample a variety of brews (non-alcoholic varieties included). On Friday, Dec. 16, Courtney Rees, founder and lead designer of Winsome Floral in Princeton, New Jersey, teaches us how to make holiday wreaths. Both events are just $10 per person (beer and garland included).

A favorite Fifth Avenue tradition returns following worship on Sunday, Dec. 11, when we’ll gather on the steps outside the Sanctuary to bring the spirit of the season to our neighbors. Fifth Avenue Caroling begins at 12:30 pm. The following Sunday, Dec. 18, another beloved tradition returns. The Christmas Tea, hosted by the Women’s Association, will take place at 12:30 pm in Bonnell Hall.


For those of you looking to serve others this holiday season, we have several opportunities for you.

On Dec. 6, starting at 3 pm, it’s First Tuesday at the Urban Outreach Center NYC, which serves dinner and distributes food to neighbors in need in East Harlem and the Upper East Side. The Joe Vedella Holiday Dinner, a celebration with our homeless neighbors, is coming up on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 pm in Bonnell Hall. The Shelter Family Holiday Party is happening the following evening (Monday, Dec. 12) starting at 5:30 pm in the LaDane Williamson Christian Education Center.

Our Project FIND team will be serving lunch to seniors on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Woodstock Senior Center on West 43rd Street. The Women’s Association can use extra hands to serve and clean up at the Christmas Tea on Sunday, Dec. 18. And our intrepid Meals on Heels ministry will be hard at work on Christmas Eve morning cooking and delivering Christmas meals to homebound neighbors and others in need.

To sign up for any of these opportunities, go to, or see the listings on the right.

The Advent Reader

The fifth edition of our Advent Reader, offering reflections and poetry for every day of the holy season, arrives on Sunday, Nov. 27. Limited print copies will be available at the church. You can also download the Reader here, or receive each day’s reflection in your email. Drop us a line at, and we’ll add you to our e-mail list. (If you received these e-mails last year, there is no need to sign up again—we got you!) Special thanks to Kathy Henderson for editing the Advent collection again this year.