WAYNE, N.J. — A Wayne pastor is making church the place to be for teens this Christmas.
The Rev. Dr. Karyn Ratcliffe recruited Wayne youth to Packanack Community Church to celebrate the spirit of Christmas Thursday at 11 p.m., and deliver a message of hope and peace.
She also wanted to dispel beliefs that young people don't value their faith.
Ratcliffe joined the pastoral staff 18 years ago and initially served as youth minister, giving her insight into the younger generations.
The church generally has 150 to 200 people at its 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service and Ratcliffe said she hopes teens will be there to greet them.
"On the one hand I see that the youth are not here, but I also recognize that it's not that they're not here because they don't care about the church," Ratcliffe told Daily Voice. "... It's that our world has changed. Their lives are different from youth of 20 to 30 years ago."
The pastor said events like the Paris terrorist attacks and San Bernardino, California shootings made it an important time to promote peace.
The Christmas Eve service will be structured around the lighting of the five candles on the Advent wreath. Each candle will be lit by one teen, who will read a few lines about what the candle means.
There will also be singing of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "Silent Night."
"We need to show the world who we are," Ratcliffe said, "and we need to send a message to the world that we are praying for peace."
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