Editor’s note: The following story has been changed; the last paragraph has been changed for reasons of clarity.
For the second year in a row, the diocese of Ontario is featuring a simple section on its Web site that proves to be helpful and popular with visitors: An icon with a star of Bethlehem that reads, “Looking for a place to go this Christmas?”
The icon opens to a list of Christmas services in churches around the diocese.
Would you enjoy a “Festival of Lessons and Carols?” There’s a church for you: the parish of Mary Magdalene in Napanee, Ont., which offers this on Dec. 23 at 10:30 a.m.
Feeling down in this season of cheer? Why not have a “Blue Christmas with Eucharist” at the parish of Tyendinaga at the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory? The parish, recognizing that for others Christmas can be a reminder of “what they have lost or have never had,” invites people to “join in sharing and hearing prayers, Scripture and music that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle – and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness.”
The Christmas service listings on the diocesan site are part of a wider feature that allows parishes to maintain a Web site, post services, news and events year-round, says Rev. Ryan Sim, Web manager of the diocese. He reports that visits to the find-a-church section have swelled in the last year; in the three months leading up to the start of December, the Web site logged 153 searches by postal code for churches in the diocese, and 1,488 searches by municipality (a 60 per cent increase from last year).