Christ Church United Methodist’s main hall bustles with folks milling about, cheerfully greeting one another and making their way into the worship space. Today is one of several performances of the 34th annual Christmas Concert, which draws crowds of church members and visitors alike. The concert, titled “Joy of Every Longing Heart,” is comprised of a 110-voice choir, 27-piece orchestra, and handbell ensemble. The church is decorated elegantly with evergreen boughs, poinsettias and festive banners.
Soon, pews are full and welcoming remarks are extended. Attendees are asked to withhold their applause until the conclusion to maintain a prayerful atmosphere. Folks bow their heads in reflection before the bell choir begins to chime an evocative arrangement of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” Voice choir members enter the sanctuary from the back, standing in the rows between the pews as they sing a resounding hymn; their lyrical harmonies pair with the majestic tones of the historic pipe organ. The building reverberates with wonder and praise.
Christ Church United Methodist descends from the first United Methodist Church in Louisville, founded in 1806 in a log cabin on the present site of the Jefferson County Courthouse. From there, after several splits, moves and mergers among various congregations, the present community landed at this location on Brownsboro Road in the late 1950s.
The community’s mission is “becoming living proof of God’s love, one person at a time.” Christ Church United Methodist offers a variety of ministries to engage community members to grow, serve and lead. Youth and senior ministries, men’s and women’s ministries, and a thriving school are just a few outreaches.
The United Methodist Church is a worldwide mainline protestant denomination. Tracing its roots to the ideas of the Wesley brothers, practitioners of the Church of England in the mid-18th century, the Methodist Church became a distinctly American tradition when the Revolutionary War divided the colonies from England. In 1968, the United Methodist Church was created when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas.
The United Methodist Church professes belief in a triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and considers the Bible the inspired word of God. They uphold that all human beings are sinners who are endowed with free will, and that salvation is found in belief in Jesus Christ. Through sanctification and the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, believers may draw closer to the grace of Christian perfection.
Louisville’s Christ Church United Methodist holds their Christmas concerts free of charge as a loving offering to the city, though donations are collected for a new charitable cause each year.
On this December day, the choir continues to the front of the sanctuary and the concert proceeds with over a dozen hymns and carols. The congregation is invited to sing along with the choir for some familiar songs. The final, resounding note elicits long-held applause and a standing ovation. The crowd is released, hugs are exchanged, and eyes are bright as the musical gathering gives way to a sunny Sunday morning.
Click here to view Christ Church United Methodist’s 2023 Christmas Concert, “Joy of Every Longing Heart.”
Click here to learn more about what’s happening at Christ Church United Methodist.
Photograph credit: Mark Ray