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Friday, Dec. 19

Town Offices closed.

Sunday, Dec. 21

Special Christmas Worship Services: Family Christmas Service Sunday, 5 p.m., and Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 at 11 p.m. Join us this Christmas as United Church of Shirley presents the meaning and purpose of Christmas in a visually stunning experience showing video, music, scripture reading and a message that tells the story of Christmas coming to earth and how this event continues to change lives today.

Candlelight Vespers “Letters Home”: Because of the ice storm, Vespers has been moved to Dec. 21. Please join us at 6:15 p.m. in Shirley’s Historic Meetinghouse, on the common in Shirley, for Candlelight Vespers. Come early and be greeted by the sound of Trinity Brass as they welcome you into the Meetinghouse with familiar songs of the season.

This year’s Vespers theme, Letters Home, revolves around letters written to family during the holiday season. Our letters are as new as 2008 and go back to the 1700s and all express the longing to be together, the joy of the season and fond memories that come to mind during this time of year.

The Meetinghouse Chorale is pleased to welcome back Stephen Edward Gerber, of Framingham, this year as our guest conductor. The chorale will perform two of Mr. Gerber’s own compositions, one which features his wife, Nancy Hoffman Gerber, as soloist. Also sharing their gifts of music will be sopranos Victoria Landry and Holly Haase, tenor Bobby Kinney, Trio Cordefiato (flute, clarinet and guitar trio), and Lou Garofalo on saxophone. We will have a carol sing with Lois Toeppner playing the Stephen’s Tracker Organ. Our readers are Gaynor Bigelbach, Doris Huxley, Kevin Johnston, Charline Oelfke and James Quinty.

Candlelight Vespers is free, although free-will donations for the maintenance and upkeep of the Meetinghouse are appreciated and welcome. For more information about the Meetinghouse please visit our Web site at

Monday, Dec. 22

Recreation Commission: 6 p.m. meeting, Town Offices, Keady Way.

Board of Assessors: 6 p.m. meeting, Town Offices, Keady Way.

Town clerk: 6-8:30 p.m., late hours, Town Offices.

Tuesday, Dec. 23

Veterans’ Agent: 5:30-7 p.m., late office hours, Town Offices.

Board of Selectmen: Meeting of Dec. 15 canceled due to storm, rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Town Offices.

Thursday, Dec. 25

Merry Christmas!

Friday, Dec. 26

Town Offices closed.

Unless otherwise noted, meetings are held at Town Offices, Keady Way. As an energy-saving measure this winter, most board meetings will be held on three evenings: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Building is closed on Friday.


Christmas services at Trinity Chapel Episcopal, Center Road, Shirley Center:

* Sunday, Dec. 21, 9:30 a.m. service: During the Sunday service there will be a Christmas Play put on by the Sunday School children.

* Wed. Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Services: 4 p.m., Family Service of Lessons and Carols with Eucharist; 10 p.m., Candlelight Service with Lessons and Carols and Festive Eucharist

Save the Date

Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest

Nashoba area middle schools and high schools have been invited to have their students take part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. This year’s theme is non-violence and students were asked to give examples of how they could solve problems in a non-violent way, the same way Rev. King did.

The winning essays will be part of the program at the MLK Day breakfast at the Bull Run on Monday, Jan. 19, and the essay winners will receive their prizes at that time. Besides guest speakers, there will also be an art display and a children’s choir as part of the breakfast program.

Essays must be mailed to MLK Breakfast Committee, P.O. Box 893, Ayer, MA 01432 and must be received before Christmas.

ShirleyArts! Touring Christmas Choir

The ShirleyArts! Touring Christmas Choir Concert to benefit the Shirley Friendship Fund will be held Sunday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Bull Run Restaurant Brunch. The Friendship Fund benefits Shirley families in need both at Christmas and throughout the year.

This annual Christmas Concert features new songs and traditional carols of the season from dancing reindeer and a jingle bell hop to shepherds, angels and wise men. Thirty boys and girls from grades two through five will sing and dance and tell the Christmas story under the direction of Meredith Marcinkewicz, accompanied by Michael Hoffmann.

To reserve your table at this great family event, phone the Bull Run at 978-425-4311 and make your brunch reservations soon.

Fuel Assistance for Shirley seniors

The Shirley Council on Aging is holding a special Fuel Assistance registration for seniors only on Jan. 6, 2009 at the St. Anthony’s parish Hall on Phoenix Street. As you may know, Fuel Assistance is a helping hand; not a hand out. It is paid for by your tax dollars and is intended to help people over a rough patch when the weather is cold.

The assistance is available to single family home owners or renters whose gross income is less than $27,877 for a single person or $36,464 for a two-person household. The information will be retained by the Partners for Community Group only. None of the information will be kept locally. The Partners Group is funded by a state and federal grant. This is one of the best uses of your tax payer dollars as it directly benefits the people who need the help the most. Applications are done in person for the first year of enrollment but once you are enrolled, the information will be sent to you by mail in the following years. Renewal of the requests can be done by mail thereafter.

To further help seniors enroll, we will be taking reservations at our Shirley COA office rather than having to deal with the agency’s busy telephone number. If you are interested, please contact me (John Oelfke) or Jean Bowden at the COA office at 978-425-2600, ext. 285. All information is strictly confidential.