ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS -- All area residents are invited to join with members and friends of the First Presbyterian Church Sunday for its annual pre-Christmas Hanging of the Greens service and to hear Pastor Paul F. Rack mark the start of Advent  by preaching on the need to "stay woke."

Rack's sermon is entitled "Taken" and is based on the Biblical message offered in Matthew 24:36-44. The pastor's sermon will be presented during the 11 a.m. worship service at the 126-year-old church at Third & E Highland Aves.

Elder Barbara E. Stone will serve as liturgist.

The David Nunez-directed adult choir will perform.

"This is the last Sunday before Advent," Reverend Rack reminds us.

"In predicting the onset of very bad times, Jesus talks about how disaster comes as a surprise, and some will be taken away while other remain. His point being that we need to stay awake and alert, that it not catch us unawares.

"Advent is the most apocalyptic of the seasons in the church," according to the pastor, "as we look ahead to the Lord’s coming into our lives.

"We are not to be taken by events, but have the presence of mind to stay focused and keep following our mission. We need to “stay woke,” as they say today; which means, keeping ourselves engaged in both the truth that is coming and the falsehood that is dissolving."

In addition to Sunday's service, the church conducts a weekly Bible Study entitled "Bible by the Bay" at 11 a.m. Tuesdays at Sissy's Restaurant in the municipal yacht harbor, to which all area residents are invited.