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Advent Festival

 The Advent Festival at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is a fun and festive event for the Burke, Fairfax, Annandale, and Springfield communities. Come enjoy the event with family and neighbors to kick-off the season.
Advent is an ancient Christian tradition. It is the season that begins our “church year” and serves as a time for prayer and preparation for the celebration of Christmas (the incarnation and birth of Christ).
The Advent Festival will include a load of fun activities, opportunities for DIY crafts, shopping, a Christmas Concert, a Christmas Market, and much more. Come when you want, and leave when you must; but trust that this will add to lots of meaning and memories to get you in the holiday spirit


What – A free holiday festival for all generations
When – Saturday December 1, 2018, from 10am-1pm (Christmas Concert at 11am). Come and go as you please.
Where – St. Stephen’s UMC: 9203 Braddock Rd. Burke, VA
Who – Anyone and everyone in our community, plus your family and neighbors, is invited.
Why – We love the Advent season at our church. This year we wanted to share our celebration with our community.
Cost – The event is free. There are items for sale at the event, and food trucks. Please bring an ornament from your household to trade with another.


What is Advent? Advent is an ancient Christian season. It marks the beginning of our “church year,” and starts four Sundays before Christmas. It is a season of prayer and preparation for the celebration of Christmas.

Where is the event? All of the festivities take place at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church (9203 Braddock Rd.) in Burke, VA.

Where should I park? St. Stephen’s has a large parking lot. There should be plenty of space.

How much does it cost? The event is entirely free. However, there are opportunities to do some shopping included in the event. We will have a Free Trade Christmas Market offered by Fair Trade Winds of Fairfax, selling holiday-themed fair trade items. There will also be evergreen wreaths and garlands for sale by our Boy Scout Troop. Also, there will be a food truck on site for lunch (around 12pm) which will be selling lunch items. Otherwise, all the crafts, gifts, and activities are free.

Do I need to bring anything? Yes! We invite you to bring a Christmas ornament from your house to trade in our Ornament Exchange (one of our church’s Advent traditions). We will tape your name to your ornament, you will place it on our tree, and then you’ll take home an ornament from another house. During Advent, you’ll be able to hang their ornament on your tree and remember another household in your thoughts and prayers.

What ages are allowed? All ages are invited and allowed at this event. You are invited to stay for as short and as long as you want. Our church usually offers childcare for major events. However, for this event, we hope you’ll stay together as a family and enjoy the festivities. Noise, running children, and messes, are all part of the fun, as far as we are concerned.

Is there stuff planned for kids? Yes. In fact, all of our activities are designed to be experienced as a household. We have crafts which can take as little or as much time as you’d like, and plenty to take home with you to finish and enjoy later. Specifically, kids will be able to assemble Advent wreaths (an ancient tradition), saw their own Yule Log (with parental and professional supervision), eat cookies, color, make ornaments, and much more!

Should I bring money? If you please, you are welcome to bring money to buy gifts from our Fair Trade Christmas Market, the Boy Scout Evergreen Garland sale, and to buy lunch from our food truck.

Do the sale items accept credit cards? Yes, our vendors all accept credit cards.

Do I have to be a member of the church to attend? No. This is a chance for us to share with our community a part of our church’s culture. You do not have to be a member to attend. If you are Christian, we encourage you to bring friends from your church or neighborhood.

Do I have to be a Christian to attend? No. This is a chance for us to share with our community a part of our culture. You will not be asked to join the church or proselytized to. We intend this to be a gift given to all, without price or expectation.

What time is the Christmas Concert? The Christmas Concert will begin at 11am. We’ve planned this so that whether you come early, or late, you have a good chance of attending the Christmas Concert. Our women’s choir, children’s choir, and youth band will all play Advent and Christmas music. This will be the highlight of the Festival.

Is there food? Yes. We will have free coffee, tea, and Christmas cookies (of course), free for all. We will also have lunch for sale by a food truck.

Does the food cost money? Free food includes drinks and cookies. Lunch will be provided by a food truck whose prices we will post on our Facebook Event.

What time should we arrive? You may arrive any time between 10am and 1pm. However, the main event of the festival is the 11am Christmas Concert. It’s not to be missed. Other craft, shopping, and gift stations will be open throughout the event; and, if you visit each station, it should take you about an hour to enjoy.

What is there to do at the Advent Festival? A lot! We’ll have a variety of stations for you to visit during your time at the Festival. DIY stations include an Advent Wreath station where you may make your own Advent wreath (an ancient tradition) from fresh evergreens and candles, and a Saw-Your-Own Yule Log station  (all contents provided for free). Shopping is available at the Fair Trade Christmas Market from Fair Trade Winds of Fairfax, and the Boy Scouts Evergreen Garland sale. We’ll also have a variety of smaller stations to learn about Advent, and take some of it home to enjoy all the way to Christmas.

What should I know about St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church? You should know that we are very happy to be hosting our first ever Advent Festival. We are a church of all generations, hoping, with God’s help, to grow in love of God and love of our neighbors through Worship, Learning, and Service, To learn more, explore our website at, call us at (703) 978-8724, or just stop by and see us, especially on Sundays.

United Methodist Women

United Methodist Women have fun and serve!

Purpose: United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in global ministries of the church.

UMW is open to all women in the church and our activities include six circles (including a teen circle and an e-mail circle called the New Dimension Circle), a Bible Study, a book club, the Creative Hearts, Creative Hands sewing group (which includes the Prayer Shawl Ministry), an annual retreat, and the Maranatha Singers.

Betty Whitehurst Circle

The Betty Whitehurst Circle meets the 2nd Monday of most months at 7 pm in in C40. This circle is one of the first formed at St. Stephen’s, and supports church mission projects.

The Betty Whitehurst Circle will meet on Monday, September 10 at 6:30 pm for a potluck dinner at the home of Nancy Hoyler, 11503 Clara Barton Drive, Fairfax Station, 22039. We welcome any women who would like to join us for fellowship, food, and devotions. If this would be your first time with us, we meet on the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:00 pm at the church. Please call Marion Gunnell (703-978-1950) or Jane Keck (703-250-1935) for information and to let one of them know you will join us and be our guest for dinner.

The Faithful Friends Circle

The Faithful Friends Circle meets the 2nd Tuesday of most months at 7:15 pm. This circle focuses on spiritual, social, & women’s issues as well as book studies and reviews.

The Faithful Friends Circle will meet on Tuesday, September 11 at 6:30 pm for a beginning-of-the-year potluck at the home of Valerie Bates, 9583 Bronte Drive, Burke, VA 22015. We will enjoy hearing about each other’s summer adventures and plan for the new year. Guests are invited. For more information, please contact Valerie Bates (703-425-5470).

Frances Allen Circle

The Frances Allen Circle meets on the second Thursday of each month from September through May. This circle goes on field trips and supports Youth Mission Trips, World Service Kits, and Military Care packages.

The Frances Allen Circle will meet Thursday, September 13 at 9:30 am in the home of Doris Gearing, 4827 Tabard Place, Annandale, 22033-4054. Doris will be providing breakfast for everyone. The program will be members sharing summer activities. We would like to invite visitors and prospective members to join us. For more information, contact Priscilla Parrott (703-865-6042) or Nancy Collier (703-425-9392).

Teen Circle

The Teen Circle meets once a month on Sundays. Grades 7-12, are invited to join this small group where you can be yourself, feel accepted, give back to the community, and be loved unconditionally

The Teen Circle will meet at the church on Sunday, September 16 at 11:00 am in M9. The program will be Welcome and Sharing. For more information, contact Betty Baumgartner (703-239-0125) or Sara Alexander (703-470-2656).


Service4 Others (S40) meets on the 3rd Thursday of most months and focuses on short-term mission projects and fellowship.

S40 will host a Classics Concert featuring Sonja Tussing on Saturday, September 8 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Sonja, along with with Bernie Stoltz, Jeff Jenkins, and Kerry Kohns, will be singing old and new songs. The free concert will be held in the St. Stephen’s Welcome Center. Donations will be collected for helping children worldwide. Any questions can be directed to Kathy Hennemuth (703-239-2871), Lauren Kohns (571-249-7452), or Cindy Sbrocco (703-764-8913).

Creative Hearts, Creative Hands

me to set your schedules for the school year! Why not set aside a little time to work on your hand projects and visit with friends? Our needlework ministry, open to all, will meet the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month (September 12 and 26) from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in M9. Please join us for all or part of the time, whatever works for you. Bring a project, your lunch, and a beverage. Contact: Jean Taylor (703-644-9480 or

New Dimension Circle

This e-mail circle is for women of our church who, for whatever reason, cannot participate in a monthly circle meeting, but would like to be informed about current UMW activities, present concerns, and information on UMW and St. Stephen’s in general. Contact Linda Baird, the New Dimension Circle Coordinator (703-591-6023 or LB10212[at]

Book Club

The Book Club meets the third Thursday of every other month at 10:00 am in C40.

The Book Club will meet on Thursday, September 20 at 10:00 am in C40. The book that will be reviewed is The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. For more information please contact Rachel Martinez ( or 703-425-0480).

Wednesday Women’s Bible Study

The Women’s Bible Study will meet in September from 9:30-11:00 am on Wednesdays in M8. They will be watching/discussing a DVD of Andy Stanley’s “Happy” series. At times meaty, comical, inspiring, educational; always Biblical. For further information, please contact Patti Keppler ( or 571-214-4296).

UMW Reading Program

This month’s book is is entitled: Bus to Corinth, by Ladine Housholder. Five women travel to biblical lands, while they study the life of Paul and his letters to the Corinthians. During this trip, the women form strong friendships and resolve issues in their personal lives. This book is a sequel to a book called The Well Women, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and nine contemporary women. This is listed on the recommended reading list.

UMW Board Meeting

The UMW Board will meet on Monday, September 24 in C40 at 9:30 am. All are welcome to attend. For questions please contact Suzanne Bottoms ( or 703-978-4871).