Plan New Year's activities conducive to spirit of Sabbath

With New Year's Eve on a Sunday this year, members of the Church are urged by Church leaders to celebrate as families in their homes after their regular schedule of Sunday meetings.

For some, however, this may not be possible. With this in mind, events more conducive to maintaining the spirit of the Sabbath have been scheduled on Temple Square as part of Salt Lake City's "First Night" activities.

In a recent letter to priesthood leaders along the Wasatch Front in Utah, members were encouraged to celebrate New Year's Eve as families. "This could become a positive, extended-family activity as they gather after their Sunday meetings," the letter read.

"Where an extended family gathering is not possible, several families, including single members, might gather together in a home and have a joint family activity. Activities should be appropriate for the Sabbath day."

The letter to priesthood leaders suggested that activities scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 30, would also be appropriate. Dancing and other activities should conclude by 11:30 p.m. to allow participants to return home immediately and be available for regular Sunday meetings.

Realizing that not all will have opportunity to celebrate at home, a variety of activities and events have been organized on Temple Square and surrounding Church facilities where members, their friends, and others in the community may enjoy entertainment suitable for the Sabbath.

"First Night" activities are organized each year as a means of celebrating the New Year in a safe environment with wholesome entertainment.

The Church has participated in past years and will continue this year. Activities in the Tabernacle begin with a half-hour performance by the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band at 6: 30 p.m. Other musicians will follow from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Highlighting the evening will be the performance of Peter Breinholt and Michael and Jeff McLean from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Tabernacle.

The Museum of Church History and Art will be open, and there will be a continuous showing of Legacy , the popular movie recounting the early history of the Church, in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square.

The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd, not typically shown on Sunday, will also be shown in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Other popular LDS artist will perform in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building from 5:30 to 11 p.m.

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