On Nov. 17, the Waynesboro Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1 State Hill Road, held its 30th annual Festival of Praise, where the congregation brings a food offering to the front of the church.
In advance, the front of the church is decorated with large boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables and a Christmas tree decorated with paper angels, each angel containing the name of a child and what they would like for Christmas.
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“It’s an amazing thing,” said longtime organizer Paulette Alexander of Shady Grove, Pa. “To see all the church members — adults and children alike — carrying their bags of groceries to the platform.”
As the church members bring their food gifts, and offerings, and thank-you notes, they also take a name or two from the tree to provide clothing and toy gifts for each child. This year, the church provided for about 20 families and 44 children. Each family received a large box of fruits and vegetables, a turkey and three bags of groceries.
Some of the groceries were collected earlier by the church’s Pathfinder group from folks in the community.
“Thank you to everyone who made this such a great success,” Alexander said.
With each delivery by church members on Nov. 17, every family also received a written invitation to a Christmas party in the church fellowship hall.
This year’s party was Dec. 15, with about 80 people attending. The evening began with small crafts for each of the children, followed with prayer, a light dinner, caroling, and “The Christmas Story,” presented by veteran storyteller Esther Cowdrick of Waynesboro. Then it was time for each child to receive a special gift at the tree.
The children were also excited to pose for a picture.
The families each took home a bag containing the extra presents for under their own tree and another box of fresh food and a frozen turkey.
Pastor John Rengifo said the church would like to wish all in the community happy holidays and blessed new year.