Christmas swan song today at New Springfield's Lutheran church

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Emmanuel Lutheran Church will have its final Christmas Cantata today.

The church, 13519 Woodworth Road, is closing Dec. 30 due to declining membership.

Forty-year choir director Karen Chikosky said this last hurrah had to be a special one.

The cantata is titled “The Glory of Christmas: Celebrating Christ’s Birth.”

Karen and her husband, Steve, the organist for 30 years, will be saying a sad goodbye to the church and the history that goes along with it.

And the choir is what kept them here, Steve said.

Steve remembers in 1978, Clarion University graduate Karen put an ad in the local newspaper looking for a job in the music field.

“They [the congregation] needed Karen’s nurturing and direction,” Steve said.

From there, the choir continued to blossom, making great music along the way.

“They still make really great music,” Steve said. “They’ve been the forte of this church for a long time, this choir.”

“It’s just been a wonderful thing,” Karen said. “I’ve worked with a wonderful group of people. They pick up any kind of music that I would bring to them. It’s just been a wonderful experience.”

Together, both Steve and Karen felt fortunate having played a small part in Emmanuel’s “long and proud 165-year history.”

“None of us knows how long our story will go on,” Steve said. “All we know is that through hard work and perseverance, our ancestors brought us this far and we will do our best to keep their dreams and our mission alive for as long as God is willing. May God bless the Emmanuel Lutheran Church and may she live in our hearts and our minds forever.”

The closure of the church will bring closure for both Karen and Steve, Steve said.

“We’re going to miss it, but we feel the Lord is leading us in another direction right now.”

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