Pictured above, the Jewel City Choir rehearses for last year’s Christmas production.  Once again, the stage will be lit by suspended and specially created snowflakes measuring 4 to 8 feet in diameter, all shining brightly with LED lighting.  It is their hope that the sights and sounds of the production will equally touch the hearts of all those in attendance.

LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD

News & Journal Editor

At this time of year, there are numerous cultures worldwide that celebrate a variety of holidays.  In our part of the country, holidays bring friends, neighbors, and families together; employees and business acquaintances share time together; and yes, church congregations celebrate the season as well.

It has been a very eventful time of year in particular for Jewel City Church, which truly rejoiced with a very memorable prelude to Thanksgiving a few weeks ago as they commemorated their 25th anniversary.  For Pastor Robert Shingleton, who started the church a quarter of a century ago with just 23 people attending, the growth he has witnessed was reason enough to celebrate!  Nearly 1,200 members have joined the church since then, and they now worship in a new state-of-the art facility that opened its doors just a year ago.

Recently, they marked the occasion with a full weekend of events, beginning with a three-hour concert with three nationally recognized gospel groups taking part.  It was a very poignant stroll down memory lane for Pastor Shingleton, who noted that the weekend also included a reuniting of the original Jewel City Quartet and the return of the church’s former worship leader who came from South Carolina to join them.

That Sunday morning, the worship service message was delivered by Pastor Shingleton’s best friend in the ministry who now resides in Maryland, and many additional surprises that he was unaware of made the service an unforgettable occasion.  Later that evening, the congregation gathered for a formal…

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