Saint Stephens Christmas Blessings, blesses area families
Tina L. Scott
When Rev. Lucas Williams and members of the congregation of Saint Stephens United Church of Christ learned many area programs to help families wouldn’t be operational this year due to COVID-19, they took action. “We just couldn’t see kids left out this Christmas, unable to experience the joy of Christmas, because their parents were having a tough year, as many families are,” said Pastor Williams, “so we decided to do something.”
Saint Stephens Christmas Blessings was created to fill this need, as a special program during very difficult circumstances. The church is hopeful other area programs will be operational once again for the 2021 holidays.
Organizers of the Christmas Blessings program were cautioned that they might be taking on more than they could handle in initiating such a program, and rather late in the year at that, but Pastor Williams said the outpouring of support has been tremendous. “Our congregation, and the community in general, have been incredibly generous, with purchasing gifts, making financial contributions, and volunteering their time to make this happen. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into a program like this, but we did it,” he said. “And as a result, a lot of children are going to have a happier Christmas.”
Pastor Williams said donations are still coming in, but more than $3,000.00 in cash donations have already been received, along with the gifts many people purchased and donated, whether to fill an individual tag or to fill in where needed. As a result, Christmas Blessings will bless 168 children in 65 area families with gifts to open this holiday season, with funds left over to pay it forward. “The gifts are smaller than some other organizations facilitated in the past,” Pastor Williams said. “But our goal was to let children know they were not forgotten, and to keep hope alive at Christmas. I think that, together, we did that.”