CHARLESTON, W.VA.--St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 36 Norwood Road, will have a special workshop in candle making on Sunday led by Ray Shackleford and Mark Owen.
The workshop begins 3 p.m. in Mathes Hall and will be followed by a "Candlemas" service at 5 p.m.
Participants will make two candles, a smaller one to be lit at the service and a taller one that will be blessed to take home.
While Feb. 2 is generally recognized as Groundhog Day, in some Christian denominations it is known as Candlemas, the day Jesus was brought to the temple 40 days after his birth. The day has also been called the Feast of the Presentation or the Feast of the Presentation of Mary. All candles that would be used in religious services or in homes for the next 12 months would be brought to church and blessed on that day.
While the service is an ancient one, this will mark the first such event at St. Matthew's, said the Rev. John Hagan.
"This service was done centuries before Groundhog Day," Hagan said.
Candlemas is generally recognized in the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Episcopal denominations, he said.
Because Candlemas falls halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of spring it has long been used to determine the return of milder weather, he said.
He points out an ancient rhyme that says, "If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another fight. If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, winter won't come again."
The candle making class will last about two hours and the service will follow with readings from the second chapter of Luke and blessings of the candles to signify that Christ is the light of the world.
All supplies will be on hand for those who wish to participate in the workshop on Sunday. Instructors Shackleford and Owen will donate their time.
The two have a business called SO-Lux and take their products to some fairs and festivals each year. Their products include soy candles, all natural hand and body lotions, and soy soaps.
Shackleford is choir master organist at St. Mark's Episcopal in St. Albans and Owen is a social worker. They are donating their expertise for Sunday's workshop in order to bring brightness to the coldness of winter.
"It will be fun," Shackleford said. "We thought it would be neat, especially in mid winter when it has been so cold and snowy, to bring some light into the season."
The number for St. Matthew's Episcopal is 304-343-3837.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1246.