Grotto opens for its 19th year

The Grotto's 19th annual Christmas Festival of Lights is open and continues nightly through Saturday, Dec. 30, at Northeast 85th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard. Gates are open from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The Grotto is closed Christmas Day.

The Grotto's Christmas Festival of Lights features holiday musical concerts, lighting displays, a living history theater program and family entertainment for all ages.

Widely recognized as the largest holiday choral festival in the Northwest, the Grotto's celebration offers more than 150 indoor musical concerts by various local school, church and civic groups. Concerts are presented hourly each night in the Grotto's Chapel of Mary, which is known for its cathedral-quality acoustics.

Children will particularly enjoy 'The Christmas Donkey' puppet show.

A life-size nativity, which was handcrafted in Ortisei, Italy, and is modeled after a collection that is on display each year at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, will be the centerpiece of the festival.

Admission is $7 per adult and $3 for children ages 3 through 12. Children age 2 and younger may attend free. Visitors also are asked to bring a donation of canned or dry baby food to benefit Snow-CAP, which runs several food and clothing programs for low-income residents.

Tickets are available at the Grotto Gift Shop, all Ticketmaster outlets and at the gate. For more information or for nightly performance schedules, call 503-261-2400.

Magical Strings has Celtic concert

First Congregational Church, 1126 S.W. Park Ave., Portland, will host Magical Strings in their 28th annual Celtic Yuletide Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec 2.

Everyone is welcome to attend this unforgettable evening of seasonal music, song, dance, storytelling and juggling.

Since 1980, Magical Strings has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland and Japan.

The group has toured and recorded with Dan Fogelberg, appeared on Garrison Keillor's 'A Prairie Home Companion' and recorded 16 albums on four labels.

Advance tickets cost $16 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door, but a $2 fee will be added.

Tickets are available by phone at 253-857-3716, and online at They can also be purchased at TicketsWest at 503-224-TIXX or 1-800-992-8499.

To learn more about Magical Strings, visit

Joyful Noise is topic of sermon

'Make A Joyful Noise' is the topic of the sermon that will be given at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Eastrose Fellowship Unitarian Universalist, 1133 N.E. 181st Ave., Gresham.

As the holiday season approaches, it's important for people to reflect on their choices and what they celebrate.

The Rev. Patti Pomerantz, the interim minister at Washington County Unitarian Universalist in Orenco, will address this topic.

For more information, call 503-665-2628, or visit

Powell Valley hosts Advent sing

Powell Valley Covenant Church, 1335 S.E. 282nd Ave., will host its annual Advent sing at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3.

Through carols, songs and stories, participants will celebrate the birth the savior. The children participate with a special performance.

During the Advent sing, children through fifth-grade can purchase $1 Christmas gifts at the 'Powell Valley Joy Store.'

Volunteers also will offer free gift-wrapping for the children.

For more information, call 503-663-3013, or visit www.

St. Henry to show Al Gore movie

The Justice and Peace Committee at St. Henry Catholic Church, at 346 N.W. First Street, Gresham, will offer local residents the opportunity to watch 'An Inconvenient Truth,' a film about global warming, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the McMahon Room.

Sister Patricia Nagle of Earth Home Ministries will facilitate a discussion about environmental justice and global warming.

Nagle participated in the U.N. Climate Control Conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 2005 and serves on the Oregon Interfaith Power and Light Global Warming Steering Committee.

For more information, call 503-665-9129.

Holiday program offered Dec. 10

The youth at Eastrose Fellowship Unitarian Universalist will present their annual holiday program at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at the church, 1133 N.E. 181st Ave.

This year, the service will focus on the importance of the holiday season in one's life. Program leader will be Katie Ten Eyck.

For more information, call 503-665-2628, or visit

Children present 'Angel Alert'

The children at Mountainview Christian Church will present 'Angel Alert,' a Christmas musical, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, and 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at the church, 1890 N.E. Cleveland Ave., Gresham.

For more information, call Carol at 503-492-1200.

East Hill sells trees 'til Dec. 20

East Hill members will sell Christmas trees from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Wednesday, Dec. 20, in the church parking lot, 539 N. Main Ave., Gresham.

Proceeds will go toward the church's global outreach programs. Tree prices start at $20.

Last year's event raised thousands of dollars to help East Hill send more than 150 short-term missionaries to Honduras, Mexico and Thailand. For more information, call 503-661-4444.

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