Many people ask about available seating on Christmas Eve. Here is how it works:
Our church holds approximately 1,850 people, including the seats in the rear gallery and the south gallery. Many more than 1,850 people would like to worship with us on Christmas Eve, and that warms our hearts. Yet, unfortunately not everyone who wants a seat may get one.
Our pledging members (those who have given to the Every Member Canvass for 2010)are given tickets to arrive through a side door at 9:30pm. If you have tickets, please arrive between 9:30pm and 10pm and take your seat. We do not reserve pews. The best selection are available to those who arrive first.
Approximately 800-1,000 seats may still be empty at 10pm, when we open the Fifth Avenue doors to those who do not have tickets. The line outside the Fifth Avenue doors may begin to form at around 9pm, depending on the weather and other factors. Year to year the number in line has varied, so it is a bit unpredictable. All we can say is early is good; late is not.
If you are concerned about getting a seat, might we suggest you avoid the long lines and come on December 25? We have a nearly identical service at 11am on December 25. That service, too, is often crowded, but lines do not form. Last year, the attendance at the 11am Christmas Day service was about 1,000, somewhat full, but with room left for more.