Non-denominational Christmas Day service will greet the dawn in Bishop Hill

Local News

Julotta (contributed photo.)

The Christmas tradition of “Julotta” returns to Bishop Hill State Historic Site this year.

Everyone is welcome to a nondenominational church service at 6 a.m. Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25 in the Colony Church, a news release says.

The word “Julotta” comes from the Swedish words for “yule” and “before dawn.” Christmas morning in Sweden begins with attendance at the Julotta service. Since 1970, the service has been a tradition in Bishop Hill to help reaffirm the community’s Swedish heritage.

The service will be in the restored Colony Church, which was constructed in 1848 by Swedish immigrants. The liturgy will be led by the Rev. Lisa Unger of the Stronghurst and United Methodist Churches. Readers include the Rev. Bryan Griem of the First Baptist Church of Galva and the Rev. Dan Wright of the First Congregation Church of Toulon. Organist will be Ann Larson, with music by Courtney Stone.

Coffee and rusks, a Swedish pastry similar to biscotti, will be available in the Colony Church Museum after the service.

Those planning to attend are encouraged to dress for the weather, because the sanctuary will be unheated during the service. All individuals attending and participating in the service will be required to observe all current guidance from the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health regarding face coverings and social distancing., the release says

The community of Bishop Hill, founded by Swedish immigrants in 1846, is 20 miles south of Interstate 80 and 17 miles east of Interstate 74 in Henry County. The Colony Church is at 101 Maiden Lane in Bishop Hill.

The Bishop Hill site will be closed Dec. 25 (except for the Julotta service) and Jan. 1, 2022.

For more information on Bishop Hill and other state historic sites, visit here

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